Picks and Pans Review: Treasures of the Smithsonian

updated 12/12/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Edwards Park

Founded in 1846 with a bequest of $508,318.46 from James Smithson, an Englishman whose half brother had fought against the Americans in the Revolution, the Smithsonian Institution has, it is safe to say, far surpassed his wildest dreams. It encompasses everything: the National Museum of American Art and a marine biology research outpost in Panama. This huge, gorgeous book by Smithsonian magazine contributing editor Park includes more than 425 illustrations, most in color, of artifacts as disparate as the Hope diamond and the Howdy Doody puppet. This is only the smallest sampler of the Institution's riches, which make the word "treasure" seem trivial. (Abrams, $60)

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