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List of Smithsonian museums

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An aged bronze statue of a man wearing a robe. His left hand rests on a book which sits on a pedestal and the statue is in front of a red brick building reminiscent of a Romanesque Cathedral
Statue of Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in front of the Smithsonian Institution Building

The Smithsonian museums are the most widely visible part of the United States' Smithsonian Institution and consist of 20 museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park.[1] 17 of these collections are located in Washington D.C., with 11 of those located on the National Mall. The remaining ones are in New York City and Chantilly, Virginia. The Arts and Industries Building is only open for special events.[1]

The birth of the Smithsonian Institution can be traced to the acceptance of James Smithson's legacy, willed to the United States in 1826. Smithson died in 1829, and in 1836, President Andrew Jackson informed Congress of the gift, which it accepted. In 1838, Smithson's legacy, which totaled more than $500,000, was delivered to the United States Mint and entered the Treasury. After eight years, in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was established.[2]

The Smithsonian Institution Building (also known as "The Castle") was completed in 1855 to house an art gallery, a library, a chemical laboratory, lecture halls, museum galleries, and offices.[3] During this time the Smithsonian was a learning institution concerned mainly with enhancing science and less interested in being a museum. Under the second secretary, Spencer Fullerton Baird, the Smithsonian turned into a full-fledged museum, mostly through the acquisition of 60 boxcars worth of displays from the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The income from the exhibition of these artifacts allowed for the construction of the National Museum, which is now known as the Arts and Industries Building. This structure was opened in 1881 to provide the Smithsonian with its first proper facility for public display of the growing collections.[4]

The Institution grew slowly until 1964 when Sidney Dillon Ripley became secretary. Ripley managed to expand the institution by eight museums and increased admission from 10.8 million to 30 million people a year.[5] This period included the greatest and most rapid growth for the Smithsonian, and it continued until Ripley's resignation in 1984.[5] Since the completion of the Arts and Industries Building, the Smithsonian has expanded to twenty separate museums with roughly 137 million objects in their collections, including works of art, natural specimens, and cultural artifacts.[1] The Smithsonian museums are visited by over 25 million people every year.[1]

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11 of the 20 Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries are at the National Mall in Washington D.C., the open-area national park in Washington, D.C. running between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center.[1] Six other Smithsonian museums including the National Zoo are located elsewhere in Washington. Two more Smithsonian museums are located in New York City and one is located in Chantilly, Virginia.

The Smithsonian also holds close ties with over 200 museums in all 50 states, as well as Panama and Puerto Rico.[1] These museums are known as Smithsonian Affiliates. Collections of artifacts are given to these museums in the form of long-term loans from the Smithsonian. These long-term loans are not the only Smithsonian exhibits outside the Smithsonian museums. The Smithsonian also has a large number of traveling exhibitions. Each year more than 50 exhibitions travel to hundreds of cities and towns all across the United States.[1]

Authorization to create two additional museums, National Museum of the American Latino and National Women's History Museum, passed congress in 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The museums have not yet been created and the Smithsonian has two years to select the museums’ locations on or near the National Mall.[6]

Institution[1] Type of collection Location[7] Opened Picture Ref.
Anacostia Community Museum African American culture Washington, D.C.
A black and white picture of a one-story brick building. The entrance door is in the center of the building and three rows of white diamond shaped tiles decorate either side.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (affiliated with the Freer Gallery) Asian art Washington, D.C.
National Mall
A one-story symmetrical granite building with two green peaked roofs either side of center. The entrance door is on the left and a similar design is on the right made out of a slightly darker granite.
Arts and Industries Building Special event venue Washington, D.C.
National Mall
A long brick building is partial obscured by three trees. There is a central entranceway flanked by two towers, and a rotunda behind the entrance.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Design history New York City
Museum Mile
A three-story brick and stone building sits on a corner in New York City and is surrounded by a stone and wrought iron fence.
Freer Gallery of Art (affiliated with the Sackler Gallery) Asian art Washington, D.C.
National Mall
The entrance to a one-story stone Beaux Arts style building. It consists of three large arches with stairs going up to and through them. The entrance door sits behind the middle arch.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Contemporary and modern art Washington, D.C.
National Mall
A large, convexly curving, 3 story tall, gray wall punctured on the second floor by a long strip of windows and a short balcony. A large black and white sculpture of a paint stroke sits in front of the building, stretching from the ground to the balcony
National Air and Space Museum Aviation and spaceflight history Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1976[note 1]
An angled view of a long, modern, stone building with seven bays, every other one being one story taller than the previous.
National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Aviation and spaceflight history Chantilly, Virginia 2003
A large white building that resembles an airplane hangar. There is a large parking lot in the front with an enclosed glass bridge connecting it to the building.
National Museum of African American History and Culture African-American history and culture Washington, D.C.
National Mall
2016[note 1]
A three tiered golden colored building with no visible windows and a green lawn in front.
National Museum of African Art African art Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1987[note 1]
A one-story symmetrical granite building with two green domed roofs either side of center. The entrance door is on the right and a similar design is on the left made out of a slightly darker granite.
National Museum of American History American history Washington, D.C.
National Mall
An oblique view of a white stone modernist building. The facade steps forward and then back 9 times, spread out equally across its front.
National Museum of the American Indian Native American history and art Washington, D.C.
National Mall
A large curving beige stone building with bands of windows delineating each floor. The curving roof line extends out beyond the building and steps back twice to reach the rest of the structure.
National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Center Native American history and art New York City
Bowling Green
An oblique view of a gray stone neoclassical building. There are 12 columns across the front of the building spaced equally except for the corners and on either side of the central door where they are doubled up.
National Museum of Natural History Natural history Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1911[note 1]
An aerial view of a white stone neoclassical building. There is a large brown dome towards the front and center of the building where the entrance is.
National Portrait Gallery Portraiture Washington, D.C.
Penn Quarter
A 3-story building. The first story is granite, while the second two are sandstone. There is a pedimented front with columns spanning the second and third floors and the entrance on the first.
National Postal Museum United States Postal Service; postal history; philately Washington, D.C.
A white stone, classically designed, 4 story building. Doors are located at the corners of the building, on the second story with a grand staircase up to it, and are flanked by two ionic columns.
Renwick Gallery American craft and decorative arts Washington, D.C.
Lafayette Square
A 3-story, brick and red stone, second empire style building with a slate roof. The building is symmetrical with the entrance center and a blue and yellow banner on either side.
Smithsonian American Art Museum American art Washington, D.C.
Penn Quarter
A 3-story building. The first story is granite, while the second two are sandstone. There is a pedimented front with columns spanning the second and third floors and the entrance on the first.
Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle) Visitor center and offices Washington, D.C.
National Mall
A brick building, reminiscent of a castle, slightly obscured by bare trees. There is a large central tower with the entrance at its base as well as smaller tower at each corner of the building, each with a varying design.
National Zoological Park (National Zoo) Zoo Washington, D.C.
Rock Creek Park
A 3 small square garden backed by a black iron fence with a cement statue of the word "ZOO" at its center.Two green banners with monkeys on them hang behind.
  1. ^ a b c d Year museum moved to current building
Interactive map
Smithsonian museums on the National Mall:

Smithsonian museums beyond the National Mall:

Other museum sites on the National Mall:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Facts about the Smithsonian Institution. (Pressroom of the Smithsonian Institution). Retrieved February 19, 2011
  2. ^ History. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved November 19, 2011
  3. ^ The Smithsonian Building: A Building Worthy of Smithson's Gift. From Smithson to Smithsonian: The Birth of an Institution. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 11, 2010
  4. ^ Baird and the Centennial Exposition Archived June 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Spencer F. Baird's Vision for a National Museum Archived March 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 16, 2010
  5. ^ a b Molotsky, Irvin, S. Dillon Ripley Dies at 87; Led the Smithsonian Institution During Its Greatest Growth. The New York Times. March 13, 2001, Retrieved March 16, 2010
  6. ^ Solly, Meilan. Congress Approves Smithsonian Museums Honoring Women and Latino Americans. Smithsonian Magazine. December 23, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  7. ^ Maps and Directions. The Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 21, 2011
  8. ^ Mission and History Anacostia Community Museum. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  9. ^ a b History of the Galleries Archived March 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Freer and Sackler Galleries. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  10. ^ Arts and Industries Building. The Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  11. ^ About The Museum Archived March 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  12. ^ History of the Hirshhorn Archived September 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  13. ^ National Air and Space Museum Chronology Archived July 26, 2012, at WebCite. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  14. ^ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  15. ^ About Us Archived March 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  16. ^ Building The Museum, Overview. National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved January 10, 2010
  17. ^ Brenson, Michael (September 8, 1987). "Beneath Smithsonian, Debut for 2 Museums". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  18. ^ Mission and History. National Museum of American History. Retrieved February 14, 2018
  19. ^ a b About the National Museum of the American Indian Archived February 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  20. ^ 20,000 American Indians March at National Museum Opening. National Geographic News. September 21, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  21. ^ Visitor Information New York, NY Archived April 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  22. ^ A Brief History. National Museum of Natural History Museum History. Retrieved February 21, 2011
  23. ^ Visiting the Museum, A Brief Overview: History with Personality. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  24. ^ Visiting the Museum, Building Chronology. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  25. ^ History of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum Archived April 22, 2012, at WebCite. National Postal Museum. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  26. ^ a b About the American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery, History of the Museum Collection Archived August 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  27. ^ Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle). Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 21, 2011
  28. ^ History of the National Zoo. National Zoological Park. Retrieved December 29, 2009

External links

This page was last edited on 30 January 2021, at 19:18
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