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“You could spend a week at the Smithsonian” is a time-honored Washington tourist observation.  It is the world’s largest museum complex.  Thirteen Smithsonian museums and galleries feature hundreds of major exhibitions, and fascinating details of America’s cultural, political, technological, and natural history.  Tours, lectures, films, and concerts are available, including Discovery Theater presentations for children.

Image: Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum

600 Independence Avenue, SW

Maintaining the largest collection of historic air- and space craft in the world, the museum includes the original Wright Brothers' 1930 flyer, Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" and the Apollo 11 Command Module.

Special films are shown on a five-story-high movie screen and planetarium presentations are also scheduled regularly.  


Image: National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery

8th and F Streets, NW  

The gallery displays official portraits of presidents, vice presidents, and other outstanding Americans, by American artists.


Image: African Art Museum
National Museum of African Art

950 Independence Avenue, SW

The museum exhibits the arts and culture of sub-Saharan Africa from ancient to contemporary times. The permanent collection numbers about 6,000 works in wood, metal, fired clay, ivory, and fiber.


Image: Anacostia Community Museum
Anacostia Museum

1901 Fort Place, SE

Located in the historic Anacostia section of southeast Washington, the museum presents exhibitions on the history and culture of African-Americans.


Image: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

1000 Jefferson Drive, SW

Home of the magnificent Joseph Hirshhorn collection of 19th and 20th-century American and European art.  The museum - a work of art itself - is the Smithsonian's collection of international modern and contemporary art. Inside the cylindrical museum is a diverse compellation of important works by Rodin, Picasso, and other noted artists.

The Sculpture Garden features creations by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, and David Smith.


Image: Sackler Museum
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

1050 Independence Avenue, SW

Around 1,000 works of Asian and Near Eastern art are displayed in this distinctive museum. This is a part of the underground complex opened in 1987.  


Image: Freer Gallery
Freer Gallery

12th Street and Jefferson Drive, SW

The gallery features a world-renowned collection of art from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia and the Near East. When the gallery opened to the public in 1923, it was the first Smithsonian museum of fine art.


Image: National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History

10th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

The world's most extensive collection of natural history specimens and artifacts, which include of 124 million objects and specimens, is on display at the Natural History Museum. Among the exhibits offered at this museum are the largest taxidermic pachyderm in the world, a 12-ton stuffed elephant, and the 45.5-carat Hope Diamond. Exhibits featuring dinosaurs, animals, and American Indian and Eskimo life are also displayed.


Image: National Museum of American History
National Museum of American History

14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

The National Museum of American History features exhibitions ranging from the original 42-foot Star Spangled Banner (the American flag which in 1814 inspired Francis Scott Key’s lyrics for our national anthem) to artifacts and exhibits like Taking America to Lunch and the Hall of Musical Instruments which depict life and popular culture in the United States over the years.


Image: Renwick Gallery
Renwick Gallery

17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Architect James Renwick designed the original Corcoran Gallery of Art, built during the Civil War era.  The Corcoran has since moved down the street, while this gallery has been restored in the style of the mid- 19th century. It houses exhibitions of American crafts and decorative arts from the 1900s to the turn of the century.


Image: American Art Museum
National Museum of American Art

750th Ninth Street, NW    

Using visual arts as a medium of recollection, the displays in this museum trace our nation's growth from a young republic to a world power. This museum is dedicated exclusively to the art and artists of the United States.


Image: Arts and Industries Building
The Arts and Industries Building

900 Jefferson Drive, SW  (Exhibit halls closed for renovations)

The Arts and Industries Building has a special role among the Smithsonian buildings as the original home of the national museum. Designed in the High Victorian style, the building opened in 1881. The museum offers displays on various topics that depict America's culture and historic milestones.


Image: The Smithsonian Castle
The Castle

1000 Jefferson Drive, SW

The original Smithsonian Institution building, known as the “Castle,” is designed in the Norman style adorned with nine turrets of varying design. The Castle houses the visitor information and Associates Reception Center and exhibits relating to the history of the Institution.


Image: National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian

Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W.

The National Museum of the American Indian houses one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of its kind. The building and exhibits within are designed to give visitors the sense and spirit of Native America.

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except when it is closed on December 25. Admission is free.


Image: National Postal Museum
National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002

Located next to Union Station, the National Postal Museum was opened to the public in 1993. Exhibits explore America's postal history from colonial times to present.

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except when it is closed on December 25. Admission is free.




The Smithsonian Institution provides visitors to Washington with culture, history, and heritage with museums, events, and festivals.  Visit their Web site for more information.  (this will take you outside senate.gov)


DC Heritage

The D.C. Heritage Tourism Coalition is dedicated to showcasing the cultural attractions and special events in Washington to visitors from across the globe.  Go to their site for more information (this will take you outside www.senate.gov).



Washington.org is the perfect site for visitors new to Washington, D.C.  Check out their site! (this will take you outside senate.gov)



Click here for more information on the federal government from Firstgov.gov, "your first click to the US Government."