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The Smithsonian Institution Building, located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. behind the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery, houses the Smithsonian Institution's administrative offices and information center. The building is constructed of Seneca red sandstone in the faux Norman style (a 12th-century combination of late Romanesque and early Gothic motifs; built in the Gothic and Romanesque revival styles) and is nicknamed The Castle. It was completed in 1855 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
|Monday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Tuesday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Wednesday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Thursday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Friday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Saturday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
|Sunday||8:30 AM – 5:30 PM|
Visitor center…Amazing architecture, looks totally diff in zones of same boring buildings This castle is basically a welcome visitor center. Almost all the museums are free in DC and when I tried to find out why I got to know, it was James Smithson who was a British scientist who left his estate to the United States to found “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Few art pieces are kept here but this is more of the visitor center and information center guys are great. James gave me all kind of information I needed. There is one big DC map replica lighten with led and you can give your destination on computer screens and it ll show you how you can go there from the castle. it was cool. I also tried to mint Abraham Lincoln coin at one of the kiosks. There is one mosaic kiosk, where you can get you to photo in a mosaic way and email to your ID. Security will check all your bags at all entrances and guards are everywhere in each room. They are friendly and helpful. The building was superb, red stone, architecture was great. Behind this building, there is the Arts and Industries Building which is closed now. All museum comes under Smithsonian Institution and they are the one who maintains it.
The Smithsonian Institution Building is also referred to as the Smithsonian Castle (free entry) and is a registered National Landmark building in the United States. Opening hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm daily. Opened in 1855, the Castle has one of the most interesting exteriors of any building along The Mall, being made of red sandstone and featuring an attractive blend of Romanesque, Norman and Gothic Revival architectural styles. The building is beautiful and worth viewing from all sides. Within the Smithsonian Institution building, visitors will find general information regarding all Smithsonian museums and venues, a small cafe and an exhibition area where you can learn about Englishman James Smithsonian, who bequeathed his property and various collections to the United States of America in 1826, allowing the young nation to establish the museum and institution in his name. The highlight of visits to the Smithsonian for me personally is the Gothic Revival style West Wing (The Commons), which does well to resemble medieval period church and museum buildings like what you might have visited in Europe during your travels. The Commons is an atmospheric exhibition space where you find the permanent collection known as the American Treasures, a eclectic display of items which provide visitors with a taste of what can be seen and experienced within the full collection of Smithsonian Museums here in D.C. In the end, the Smithsonian Institute is very much worth a quick visit if you are spending time along The Mall and plan to be this particular area. You can view the exhibitions here in as little as 20-30 minutes and spend a similar amount of time just enjoying the delightful architecture of the building within and from the outside. Note: there are several attractive gardens which surround the Smithsonian Institute buildings as well. These make for peaceful and relaxing places to rest your feet if you have been sightseeing for a few hours and need a break.
The Smithsonian castle will tell you where all the other Smithsonian are. All the displays are on the frist floor. There are really cool stuff animals mounted on the wall. The metro station is right in front of the castle so thats a big plus.
The Castle opens before all the other museums so it's a great spot to start an early morning trip to the National mall and grab a bite and a coffee to start you day off.
This is a beautiful historical building. Several parts were in the process of being renovated. It has an immense amount of information on the entire Smithsonian Museum system. You can utilize the resources to help plan out your trip. Make sure to walk all the way around (and view from the courtyard and the national mall side to see all of the Castle's beauty.
The Smithsonian Castle is simply an architectural gem. While not active as a typical Smithsonian museum, it does house interesting historical artifacts and photos. The grounds and gardens surrounding the building are kept in immaculate condition. The most interesting thing about visiting the castle is marveling in the splendid architecture. The castle was constructed in 1849 and was the official residence of the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry. The crypt of James Smithson is contained within the building. As the castle is centrally located amongst other Smithsonian buildings on the National Mall, it is well worth a visit.
This is a beautiful piece of architecture that fits in and contrasts nicely with the buildings surrounding it. It has a lot of interesting things on display, but for me, it has a much more important function. It is the information gateway to the whole Smithsonian Complex. If you are visiting the Museum, then this is the place to start to ensure you get the best possible experience. The staff are very helpful and know their stuff!
Awesome place to visit. Great flower gardens around the place. Very well maintained. Should be your first stop on the mall. Nice little restaurant for sandwiches and drinks.