The oldest scholarly society in the United
States was founded in Philadelphia in 1743 by Benjamin
Franklin "for the promotion of useful knowledge
among the British plantations in America." Two
general meetings are held each year. Hundreds of members
and guests attend these meetings to present and discuss
papers on topics ranging from underwater archaeology to
nuclear magnetic imaging, from the writings of
Shakespeare to race relations.
Established in 1836 by a bequest left to the United
States by a scientist who had never visited the country,
the Smithsonian Institution is now the world's largest
museum and research complex.