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List of Smithsonian museums

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] and its newest museum building, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened in 2016.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] This period included the greatest and most rapid growth for the Smithsonian, and it continued until Ripley's resignation in 1984.[6] 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]

MuseumsEdit

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 171 museums in 41 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]

Museums, galleries and park[1] Type of collection Location[7] Opened Picture
Anacostia Community Museum African American culture[8] Washington, D.C.
Anacostia
1967[8]  
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (affiliated with the Freer Gallery) Asian art[9] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1987[9]  
Arts and Industries Building Special event venue[10] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1881[10]  
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Design history[11] New York City
Museum Mile
1897[11]  
Freer Gallery of Art (affiliated with the Sackler Gallery) Asian art[9] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1923[9]  
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Contemporary and modern art[12] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1974[12]  
National Air and Space Museum Aviation and spaceflight history[13] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1946
1976 [13]
 
National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Aviation and spaceflight history[14] Chantilly, Virginia 2003[14]  
National Museum of African American History and Culture African-American history and culture[15] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
2003
2016 [2]
 
National Museum of African Art African art[16] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1964,
1987 [16]
 
National Museum of American History American history[17] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1964[17]  
National Museum of the American Indian Native American history and art[18] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
2004[19]  
National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Center Native American history and art[18] New York City
Bowling Green
1994[20]  
National Museum of Natural History Natural history[21] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1858,
1911 [21]
 
National Portrait Gallery Portraiture[22] Washington, D.C.
Penn Quarter
1968[23]  
National Postal Museum United States Postal Service; postal history; philately[24] Washington, D.C.
NoMa
1993[24]  
Renwick Gallery American craft and decorative arts[25] Washington, D.C.
Lafayette Square
1972[25]  
Smithsonian American Art Museum American art[25] Washington, D.C.
Penn Quarter
1968[25]  
Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle) Visitor center and offices[26] Washington, D.C.
National Mall
1855[26]  
National Zoological Park (National Zoo) Zoo[27] Washington, D.C.
Rock Creek Park
1889[27]  

  Year museum moved to current building

A satellite image of the eastern half of the National Mall with 10 Smithsonian museums located on it. On the northern side of the Mall are the National Museum of American History (2) and the National Museum of Natural History (3). On the southern side are the National Museum of the American Indian (10), the National Air and Space Museum (11), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (12), Arts and Industries Building (13), Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle) (14), Freer Gallery of Art (15), Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (16), and the National Museum of African Art (17). The National Museum of African American History and Culture is built on the plot of land to the west of the National Museum of American History (2).[2]


Other landmarks shown in this image include the Washington Monument (1), the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden (4), West Building (5), and East Building (6), the United States Capitol (7), the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial (8), and the United States Botanic Garden (9).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Facts about the Smithsonian Institution. newsdesk.si.edu (Pressroom of the Smithsonian Institution). Retrieved February 19, 2011
  2. ^ a b c Building The Museum, Overview. National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved January 10, 2010
  3. ^ History. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved November 19, 2011
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Baird and the Centennial Exposition Archived 2013-06-16 at the Wayback Machine. Spencer F. Baird's Vision for a National Museum Archived 2010-03-02 at the Wayback Machine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 16, 2010
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Maps and Directions. The Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 21, 2011
  8. ^ a b Mission and History Anacostia Community Museum. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  9. ^ a b c d History of the Galleries Archived 2009-03-20 at the Wayback Machine. Freer and Sackler Galleries. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  10. ^ a b Arts and Industries Building. The Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  11. ^ a b About The Museum Archived 2009-03-10 at the Wayback Machine. Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  12. ^ a b History of the Hirshhorn Archived 2008-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  13. ^ a b National Air and Space Museum Chronology. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved December 6, 2009
  14. ^ a b Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  15. ^ About Us Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine. National Museum of African American History and Culture. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  16. ^ a b Brenson, Michael (September 8, 1987). "Beneath Smithsonian, Debut for 2 Museums". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  17. ^ a b Mission and History. National Museum of American History. Retrieved February 14, 2018
  18. ^ a b About the National Museum of the American Indian Archived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine. National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  19. ^ 20,000 American Indians March at National Museum Opening. National Geographic News. September 21, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  20. ^ Visitor Information New York, NY Archived 2009-04-13 at the Wayback Machine. National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  21. ^ a b A Brief History. National Museum of Natural History Museum History. Retrieved February 21, 2011
  22. ^ Visiting the Museum, A Brief Overview: History with Personality. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved February 25, 2010
  23. ^ Visiting the Museum, Building Chronology. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  24. ^ a b History of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. National Postal Museum. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  25. ^ a b c d About the American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery, History of the Museum Collection Archived 2014-08-20 at the Wayback Machine. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved December 29, 2009
  26. ^ a b Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle). Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 21, 2011
  27. ^ a b History of the National Zoo. National Zoological Park. Retrieved December 29, 2009

External linksEdit