S. Dillon Ripley Smithsonian Gallery
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.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
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
Smithsonian Institution Visitor Center
The Smithsonian Institution Visitor Center was the first Smithsonian building, designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., whose other works include St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, also in Washington D.C. James Renwick designed the Castle as the focal point of a picturesque landscape on the Mall, using elements from Georg Moller's Denkmäler der deutschen Baukunst.
The building is completed in the Gothic Revival style with Romanesque motifs. This style was chosen to evoke the Collegiate Gothic in England and the idea of knowledge and wisdom. The façade is built with red sandstone from the Seneca quarry in Seneca, Maryland in contrast to the granite, marble and yellow sandstone from the other major buildings in Washington, D.C.
The main Smithsonian visitor center is also located here, with interactive displays and maps. Computers electronically answer most common questions. A crypt just inside the north entrance houses the tomb of James Smithson.
St. Matthew's Cathedral
The Saint Matthew Cathedral church and parish is named for Saint Matthew the Apostle, the patron saint of civil servants, recognizing all those who serve in the municipal, state, and national governments and the many international organizations located in the metropolitan area. The church is the seat or cathedra of the Archbishop of Washington. As the Mother Church of the archdiocese, it plays a major role in the Catholic life of the nation’s capital.
The funeral Mass for President John F. Kennedy was celebrated in the Cathedral on November 25, 1963 with many international heads of state and governments in attendance. In 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in the Cathedral during his visit to the United States. Annually, on the Sunday before the first Monday in October when the Supreme Court of the United States begins its regular term, a special Mass is celebrated praying for the Holy Spirit to guide all those who are members of the legal profession. Known as the "Red Mass" in reference to the vestment color, the Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, the President's Cabinet, diplomatic corps, local municipal, state and national government leaders, and sometimes the President of the United States join the celebration.
Located just off the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, and M Street in Northwest Washington and about four blocks from the White House.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (on the building itself called the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts, and commonly referred to as the Kennedy Center) is a performing arts center located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The Center, which opened on September 8, 1971, produces and presents theater, dance, ballet, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, and folk music, in addition to multi-media performances for all ages.
It is the busiest performing arts facility in the United States and annually hosts approximately 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly two million; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 20 million more. Now in its 41st season, the Center presents the greatest examples of music, dance and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Center's achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in over 200 theatrical productions, dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works.
It represents a public-private partnership, since it is both the nation's living memorial to President John F. Kennedy and the "national center for the performing arts," which includes educational and outreach initiatives, almost entirely paid for through ticket sales and gifts from individuals, corporations, and private foundations.
Designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, it was built by Philadelphia contractor John McShain and is administered by a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution. It receives federal funding each year to pay for the maintenance and operation of the building.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater.
The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classic pilasters, or columns, set into the surface. Sculpted into the east panel which faces Washington, D.C., are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor. The six wreaths, three sculpted on each side, represent the six major campaigns of World War I. Inscribed on the back of the Tomb are the words:
Tudor Place House & Garden
Tudor Place is a Federal-style mansion in Washington, D.C. that was originally the home of Thomas Peter and his wife, Martha Parke Custis Peter, a granddaughter of Martha Washington. Step-grandfather George Washington left her the $8,000 in his will that was used to purchase the property in 1805. The property, comprising one city block on the crest of Georgetown Heights, had an excellent view of the Potomac River.
U.S. Capitol Historical Society
The United States Capitol Historical Society is a nonprofit and nonpartisan educational organization created in 1962 to promote the history of the Capitol and Congress, USCHS serves as an informational and educational resource for its members and the general public.
The Society was established in 1962 as a private non-profit organization. Founded through a bipartisan effort by Congress, the society's creation was spearheaded by its first president, Representative Fred Schwengel of Iowa. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. They have an Oral History collection at the Library of Congress.
U.S. Department of the Interior Museum
The U.S. Department of the Interior Museum educates the public and DOI employees about the current missions and programs of the Department of the Interior, the history of the Department, and the art and architecture of its headquarters building in Washington, DC.
The Interior Museum acquires objects appropriate for promoting understanding of the Department's activities. The Museum holds these objects in trust and provides access to them for use in supporting the missions of the Department through the documentation, preservation, and management of our collections in ways that enhance their long-term availability for these purposes.
The U.S. Department of the Interior Museum was created by Interior Secretary Harold Ickes to help the American taxpayer understand the work of the Department. In 1935, Ickes appointed Carl Russell from the National Park Service museum division to head the museum committee charged with developing and designing the exhibits. Russell immediately gathered a staff of curators, model makers, artists, sculptors, and others to begin work on the Museum.
The construction of the Main Interior Building provided an opportunity for the new Museum and it was given one floor of an entire wing. The space was not originally intended to be a museum gallery, a challenge for the museum committee, which had to work around a long narrow wing with low ceilings and several load bearing columns.
A curator was assigned to each of the Department’s bureaus. Together these teams developed the exhibits featuring objects, photographs, maps, watercolor illustrations, and interpretative panels. Silhouettes cut from zinc to illustrate the work and mission of the Department were installed in some of the lighting coves above the exhibits.
The museum opened on March 8, 1938 and featured 1,000 objects in 95 exhibits. Secretary Ickes held a formal invitation-only party to open the museum on that day, the party also commemorated the 89th anniversary of the first day in office for the Department’s first secretary, Thomas Ewing. The Museum opened to the public the next day and was an immediate success with 3,000 to 4,000 people visiting the museum monthly.
U.S. Navy Memorial
The United States Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 7th Street Northwest and 9th Street Northwest in Washington, D.C., honors those who have served or are currently serving in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine.
The National Park Service, through its National Mall and Memorial Parks administrative unit, provides technical and maintenance assistance to the foundation. The memorial is adjacent to the Archives station and the National Archives building.
Associated with the Memorial is the Naval Heritage Center. The Heritage Center is open 362 days a year, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.