The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum maintains the world's largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts, encompassing all aspects of human flight, as well as related works of art and archival materials. It operates two landmark facilities that, together, welcome more than eight million visitors a year, making it the most visited museum in the country. It also is home to the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies.
The Museum houses thousands of artifacts showcased in exhibitions on aviation, space exploration, and planetary science. At both of its locations, the Museum presents programs, educational activities, lectures, and performances that reflect the American spirit, and the innovation, courage, and optimism that have led to triumphs in the history, science and technology of flight. At the Museum in Washington, DC, which opened in 1976 and is located in the heart of the Smithsonian complex in Washington, DC, some of the most awe-inspiring icons of flight are on display.
The National Air and Space Museum is the largest of 19 museums included in the Smithsonian Institution. The Museum's Director is assisted by three Associate Directors, who oversee Research and Curatorial Affairs; Management and Public Programs; and External Affairs. The Smithsonian's aeronautical collection began in 1876 when a group of kites was acquired from the Chinese Imperial Commission.
The National Museum of African Art is an African art museum located in Washington, D.C., United States. The museum is one of nineteen under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum, which was started in 1964, was originally located at the Frederick Douglass House in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
In 1979 the museum was transferred over to the Smithsonian and relocated to the National Mall. It opened in its current location, as one of two institutions, constructed mostly underground, in the quadrangle complex behind the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Castle), in 1987. The other is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery for Asian art.
The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Among the items on display are the original Star-Spangled Banner and Archie Bunker's chair. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and located on the National Mall at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
The museum opened in 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology. It was one of the last structures designed by the renowned architectural firm McKim Mead & White. In 1980, the museum was renamed The National Museum of American History
to represent its mission of the collection, care, study, and interpretation of objects that reflect the experience of the American
The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. With free admission and open doors 364 days a year, it is the most visited natural history museum in the world. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall was one of the first Smithsonian buildings constructed exclusively to hold the national collections and research facilities. The main building has an overall area of 1,320,000 square feet (123,000 m2) with 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of exhibition and public space and houses over 1,000 employees.
The museum's collections total over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human cultural artifacts. With 7.4 million visitors in 2009, it is the most visited of all of the Smithsonian museums that year and is also home to about 185 professional natural history scientists — the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world
The National Portrait Gallery is an historic art museum located at 8th and F Streets NW in Washington, D.C., in the United States. Founded in 1962 and opened to the public in 1968, it is part of the Smithsonian Institution. Its collections focus on images of famous Americans. The museum is housed in the historic Old Patent Office Building.
The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (with which it shares the building) are the eponym for the Gallery Place Washington Metro station, located across the intersection of F and 7th Streets NW.
The National Postal Museum, a Smithsonian Institution museum, is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C. The Museum was created by an agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Postal
Service in 1990 and opened to the public in 1993.
The National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, and as part of the Smithsonian Institution, does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to provide leadership in animal care, science, education, sustainability, and visitor experience. The National Zoo has two campuses. The first is a 163-acre (66 ha) urban park located in northwest Washington, D.C. that is 20 minutes from the National Mall by Metro to the Woodley Park station, or downhill walk from the Cleveland Park station. The other campus is the 3,200-acre (1,300 ha) Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI; formerly known as the Conservation and Research Center) in Front Royal, Virginia. SCBI is a non-public facility devoted to training wildlife professionals in conservation biology and to propagating rare species through natural means and assisted reproduction. The National Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Altogether, the two facilities contain 2,000 animals of 400 different species. About one-fifth of them are endangered or threatened. Most species are on exhibit at the Zoo's Rock Creek Park campus. The best known residents are the giant pandas, but the Zoo is also home to birds, great apes, big cats, asian elephants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, aquatic animals, small mammals and many more. The SCBI facility houses between 30 and 40 endangered species at any given time depending on research needs and recommendations from the Zoo and the conservation community. The National Zoo, as part of the Smithsonian Institution, receives federal appropriations for operating expenses. A new master plan for the park was introduced in 2008 to upgrade the park's exhibits and layout.
The National Zoo is open every day of the year except December 25 (Christmas Day).
The Renwick Gallery is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, located in Washington, D.C., and focuses on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th century to the 21st century. It is housed in a National Historic Landmark building that was begun in 1859 on Pennsylvania Avenue and originally housed the Corcoran Gallery of Art (now one block from the White House and across the street from the Old Executive Office Building). When it was build in 1859, it was known, at the time, as the American Louvre.
The first-floor gallery features temporary exhibits that usually rotate about twice a year. On the second floor, in the Grand Salon, is one of the most famous art-filled rooms in Washington, it is hung with 70 paintings, by 51 American artists, painted between 1840 and 1930.
The Renwick Gallery, the Museum's branch location for contemporary American craft and decorative arts, is located steps from the White House in the heart of historic federal Washington.
The International Gallery is home to a revolving and exciting array of visiting exhibitions. Check at the information desk in the Castle for show information. Enter at the copper-domed kiosk on Jefferson Drive next to the Castle.
American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music (July 11, 2011-Oct. 9, 2011). One of the first interactive museum exhibitions to tell the story of the profound influence and impact of Latinos in American popular music, including jazz, R&B, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop.
Artists At Work (June 23, 2011-Oct. 2, 2011) Ripley Center Concourse. Works in all media—painting, sculpture, photography and video—by Smithsonian staff.
The Discovery Theater
The Discovery Theater offers the best in live performing arts for young people. Each season more than 30 performances feature puppets, music, theater, storytelling, dance and cutting-edge science for groups and families. Visit DiscoveryTheater.org or call 202-633-8700.
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) showcases 40 to 50 exhibitions in cities across the nation every year. Look for a Smithsonian traveling exhibition scheduled to visit your community at sites.si.edu.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, folk art, and decorative arts from the colonial period to today—offer an unparalleled record of the American experience.
Highlights Lunder Conservation Center; Luce Foundation Center for American Art, a public study center with more than 3,300 artworks to explore; Kogod Courtyard with free, public Wi-Fi internet access