The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington,
D.C., is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions
in the world. Its features include geography, archaeology and natural
science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation,
and the study of world culture and history.
The Society began as a club for an elite group of scholars and wealthy
patrons interested in travel. On January 13, 1888, 33 explorers and
scientists gathered at the Cosmos Club, a private club in Washington,
D.C., to organize "a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical
knowledge." After preparing a constitution and a plan of organization, the
National Geographic Society was incorporated on January 27.