I HAVE signed into law today S. 907, an act authorizing the Smithsonian Institution to plan museum support facilities.
The new law, approved by Congress earlier this month without dissent, will enable the Smithsonian to undertake the development of facilities for the most effective care and conservation of the collections it holds in trust for the Nation.
These collections, which include nearly 75 million items, among them the Kitty Hawk Flyer, George Catlin's remarkable paintings of North American Indians, and three million botanical specimens, record our historic, scientific, material, and cultural development as a people and as a nation.
The proposed facilities will permit increased public access to the rich and diverse heritage represented in the collections. They will also allow the Institution's Mall museums to be used to the fullest extent possible for the education and enjoyment of the millions of citizens who visit them each year.
On the eve of America's Bicentennial, I believe it is appropriate to make this commitment to this heritage of our past to better guide us on the path of our third century.