What happened on this day in history: The Louvre Museum opens in Paris in 1793, "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz is arrested in 1977, and more historical events from August 10th.
1628: The Warship Vasa Sinks
The Swedish warship Vasa sinks less than a mile into her maiden voyage. Heralded as a paragon of modern engineering, the 226-foot ship had the capacity to carry 64 heavy cannons. However, within 20 minutes of launching, the overburdened ship tipped and sank in front of the thousands of spectators who had gathered to watch her depart from Stockholm.
1793: The Louvre Opens In Paris
The Louvre, one of the world’s most-visited museums and an iconic landmark around the globe to this day, opens in Paris. The building was a royal palace for two centuries until Louis XIV moved the main royal residence to Versailles. Then, during the Enlightenment, many French people called for royal art collections to be publicly displayed, eventually leading to the founding of the Louvre. Today, famous works like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo are on display there.
1846: The Smithsonian Institution Is Established
An Act of Congress establishes the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. The initial funds for the museum came from the estate of British scientist James Smithson, who left his money to the U.S. government for the purpose of “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”
1970: Jim Morrison’s Indecent Exposure Trial Begins
Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Doors, appears in court for indecent exposure in Florida. During a March 1969 concert, Morrison asked the crowd if they wanted to see his genitals, then he reportedly exposed himself.
Six days later, Florida’s Dade County Public Safety Department issued an arrest warrant for Morrison on the grounds of indecent exposure. By September of the following year, Morrison was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison. In 2010, however, the state of Florida issued a posthumous pardon for Morrison.
1977: The “Son of Sam” Is Arrested
Serial killer David Berkowitz — known as the .44 Caliber Killer and the “Son of Sam” — is arrested at his apartment in Yonkers, New York. The 24-year-old postal worker murdered six people and wounded seven others over the course of a year in and around New York City. He evaded police in one of the biggest manhunts in the city’s history until police were able to track down his car after a tip from an informant.
2017: Journalist Kim Wall Goes Missing After Boarding Peter Madsen’s Submarine
Swedish journalist Kim Wall was a highly respected freelancer, working on a story about the Danish billionaire inventor Peter Madsen. Madsen invited Wall to an interview on his new miniature submarine, the Nautilus, from which he later had to be rescued as it began to sink into the ocean. Wall’s torso was later found on a beach, and in a 2020 documentary, Madsen admitted to killing Wall on board the submarine before intentionally sinking it.