What exactly are the Smithsonian Museums

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The Smithsonian museums are  part of the United States’ Smithsonian Institution and consist of nineteen museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park.  Seventeen of these collections are located in Washington D.C., with eleven of those located on the National Mall. The remaining ones are in New York City and Chantilly, Virginia.

In 1826, James Smithson willed to the United States a gift of $500,000 estabilishing the Smithsonian Instiution which initially was a learning institution concerned mainly with enhancing science and less interested in being a museum.  Income earned from a Exposition in Philadelphia in 1881 provided funds for first facility for pblic display of the growing collection of artifacts.

Since the completion of the first 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. The Smithsonian museums are visited by over 25 million people every year.

You may explore these local Smithsonian Museums:

Museum

Type of collection

Location

Year opened

Picture

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Part of the National Museum of Asian Art along with the Freer Gallery of Art)

Asian art

National Mall

1987

 Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Arts and Industries Building

(The Castle)

No exhibitions

National Mall

1881

 Arts and Industries Building

Freer Gallery of Art (Part of the National Museum of Asian Art along with the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)

Asian art

National Mall

1923

 Freer Gallery of Art

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Contemporary and modern art

National Mall

1974

 Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

National Air and Space Museum

Aviation and spaceflight history

National Mall

1976

 National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Aviation and spaceflight history

Chantilly, Virginia

2003[

 National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

National Museum of African American History and Culture

African-American history and culture

National Mall

2015*

National Museum of African Art

African art

National Mall

1987

 National Museum of African Art

National Museum of American History

American history

National Mall

1964

 National Museum of American History

National Museum of the American Indian

Native American history and art

National Mall

2004

 National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of Natural History

Natural history[

National Mall

1858

 National Museum of Natural History

National Portrait Gallery

Portraiture[21]

Penn Quarter

1968

 National Portrait Gallery

National Postal Museum

United States Postal Service; postal history; philately

Mass Ave.NW

1993

 National Postal Museum

Renwick Gallery

American craft and decorative arts

Lafayette Square

1972

 Renwick Gallery

Smithsonian American Art Museum

American art

Penn Quarter

1968

 Smithsonian American Art Museum

National Zoological Park (National Zoo)

Zoo

Rock Creek Park

1889

 National Zoological Park

 

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