Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo – Virtual Tour

Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo - Virtual Tour

Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo – Virtual Tour

The Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo is a group of museums and research centers. The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846 and named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. 

The Smithsonian’s holdings include 154 million items, 19 museums, 21 libraries, nine research centers, and zoo include historical and architectural landmarks, mostly located in the District of Columbia.

Additional facilities are located in Maryland, New York, and Virginia. Over 200 institutions and museums across the United States are Smithsonian Affiliates.

A Virtual Tour of Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo 

Highlights Tour of Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo 

National Air and Space Museum, D.C. 

The National Air and Space Museum displays the most extensive collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1946 and opened its main building in 1976.

The museum contains historical objects such as the Apollo 11 module, the Friendship 7 capsule, the Bell X-1, which broke the sound barrier, and the Wright brothers’ plane.

The main building of the National Air and Space Museum is on the National Mall near L’Enfant Plaza.  

Freer Gallery of Art

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a museum of contemporary and modern art and currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on post–World War II.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an art museum initially endowed during the 1960s with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and beside the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The museum’s focus is on contemporary and modern art and currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on the post–World War II period.

The building itself is an attraction, an open cylinder elevated on four massive “legs,” with a large fountain occupying the central courtyard. 

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution.

The museum was one of the first Smithsonian buildings explicitly constructed to hold the national collections and research facilities.

The museum’s collections contain over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a museum of contemporary and modern art and currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on post–World War II.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an art museum initially endowed during the 1960s with the permanent art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and beside the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The museum’s focus is on contemporary and modern art and currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on the post–World War II period.

The building itself is an attraction, an open cylinder elevated on four massive “legs,” with a large fountain occupying the central courtyard. 

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution. It holds one of the largest collections of art, from the American colonial period to the present.

The museum has more than 7,000 artists represented in the collection. The museum’s main building is the old Patent Office Building, which it shares with the National Portrait Gallery.

Craft-focused exhibitions are shown in the Renwick Gallery.

National Museum of African Art

The National Museum of African Art has a collection that includes 9,000 works of traditional and contemporary African art from Sub-Saharan and Arab North Africa.

The institution was first founded in 1964, with a collection focused on traditional African art. It joined the Smithsonian Institution in 1979 and became the National Museum of African Art two years later.

As the Smithsonian Institution’s African art museum, it was the first institution dedicated to African art in the United States.

Today the collection is exhibited in a mostly underground museum building completed in 1987, just off the National Mall and adjacent to other Smithsonian museums. 

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History collects the United States’ heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history.

The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is located on the National Mall.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institution, and its collection focuses on images of famous Americans.

The museum is housed in the Old Patent Office Building, as is the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is a museum focused on the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The museum has three facilities: 

The National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 

The George Gustav Heye Center is located at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York City.

The Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility, is located in Suitland, Maryland.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a Smithsonian Institution Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

It has over 35,000 objects in its collection related to African American History and Culture and is open to the public free of charge.

The museum was established in 2003, and it opened in 2016, in a ceremony led by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Its collection relates to African American subjects of community, family, the visual and performing arts, religion, civil rights, slavery, and segregation.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery forms part of the Smithsonian’s national museums of Asian art in the United States.

The museum was founded in 1982 and is located on the south side of the National Mall. The major galleries of the museum are located underground below the Enid A. Haupt Garden.

The museum’s founding collection consisted of about 1,000 objects, composed of ancient and contemporary pieces.

The collection ranges from Near Eastern metalware and ceramics, South and Southeast Asian sculpture, Chinese jade and bronze pieces, and Chinese lacquerware and paintings.

In 1986 a unique collection of Persian and Islamic paintings and manuscripts was added.

National Postal Museum

The National Postal Museum houses the National Philatelic Collection. Also, it hosts many artifacts and displays about the history of the United States Postal Service and mail services around the world.

The museum is located across the street from Union Station in the building that once served as the main post office of Washington, D.C., from 1914 to 1986.

The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the federal government’s executive branch responsible for providing postal service in the United States.

It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution.

National Zoo

The National Zoological Park is one of the oldest zoos in the United States and is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The Zoo host about 2,700 animals of 390 different species, of which about one-fifth are endangered or threatened.

The National Zoo has two campuses. The first is a 163-acre (66 ha) urban park located in Northwest Washington, D.C. The other campus is the 3,200-acre (1,300 ha) Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.

The Zoo’s mission is to: “provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats.”

The Zoo supports 180 species of trees, 850 species of woody shrubs and herbaceous plants, 40 species of grasses, and 36 different bamboo species.

Smithsonian Museums, Galleries

In addition to the above, the following are also part of the Smithsonian collection:

  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Archives of American Art Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery
  • S. Dillon Ripley Center
  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • Smithsonian Gardens
  • Smithsonian Institution Building – The Castle

Smithsonian Institution

  • Name:                  Smithsonian Institution
  • City:                     Washington, D.C.
  • Country:               United States
  • Established:         1846
  • Locations:            Washington, D.C.; Chantilly, Virginia; New York City

Smithsonian Museums, Galleries, and Zoo – Map

Smithsonian Institution Building – The Castle – Virtual Tour

A Tour of Washington, D.C. Museums

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Video Tour

A Walk Through the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museums

~~~

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it;
the tree is the real thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

~~~


Photo Credit: Noclip, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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