The ultimate guide to all 19 Smithsonian Museums

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The world’s biggest museum and research facility — the Smithsonian Institution — is every art, history or culture lovers dream. With 19 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoological Park, the Smithsonian has something for everyone to appreciate and learn from.

Two of the museums are in New York City, while several others are within walking distance of one another on the National Mall and a few are just located in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Washington, D.C. is a fantastic place to visit because of its rich American history, politics and hospitable hotels in and around the D.C. area.

The Smithsonian offers guided tours, various exhibitions and events, and hands-on activities for people of all ages. All museums have free admission, except for the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, which requires an entry fee.

1. National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African-American History and Culture

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 14th St. and Constitution Avenue NW

This museum became the 19th of the Smithsonian Institution museums after being established in 2003. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum completely devoted to African American art, history, life and culture. Their gallery is currently seen on the second floor of the East Wing of the National Museum of American History. They will open their own location on September 25th, 2016.

2. National Museum of African Art

Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of African Art

Source: Facebook

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 950 Independence Avenue SW

The National Museum of African Art features exhibits from the continent of Africa. Contemporary and traditional art is on display for people to see, admire and be inspired by. This museum lets those from around the world learn about the African culture from its finest pieces of art.

3. National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution: National Air & Space Museum

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: Independence Avenue, 6th Street SW

To those interested in space and air travel, this one’s a must see. At the National Air and Space Museum visitors have the chance to explore 23 galleries exhibiting thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including missiles, rockets and various types of planes.

4. National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Steven Udvar Hazy Center

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, Virginia

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the companion facility of the before-mentioned museum. They offer daily tours, an IMAX theater, and special lectures and events throughout the year. The two large hangers on site — the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar — showcase thousands of aviation and space pieces, including the space shuttle Discovery.

5. Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Source: Flickr

Hours: 11:30 a.m. — 7:00 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 8th Street, F Street NW

Come here for beautiful American artwork. Learn about the true American experience and way of life from the colonial period up until today through folk art, decorative arts, paintings, photographs and sculptures at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

6. National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of American History

Source: Flickr

Hours:  10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25
Location: 1300 Constitution Avenue NW

Go back in time at the National Museum of American History to discover and explore the complexity of American history. Through exhibits and events, visitors come to better understand the cultural, social, technological and political developments of the United States.

7. National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 4th Street, Independence Avenue SW

At the Washington, D.C. location, the National Museum of the American Indian holds a massive collection of artifacts about the Native American culture. The architecture of the museum, as well as its exhibitions, are designed and focused around various Indian tribes and communities from around the globe.

8. Anacostia Community Museum

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Source: Facebook

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 1901 Fort Place SE

Deep thinkers, knowledge seekers and community activists will thoroughly enjoy this Smithsonian museum. The Anacostia Community Museum is committed to providing a stimulus for more critical thinking about issues impacting our society and assembling people together around shared community problems. Those here examine, record and then interpret the impact historical and social issues have on urban communities.

9. Arts and Industries Building

Smithsonian Arts & Humanities Building

Source: Flickr

Hours: Currently closed for renovations
Location: 900 Jefferson Drive SW

The Arts and Industries Building is the original home of the National Museum. It’s currently closed due to renovation.

10. Freer Gallery of Art

Freer Gallery of Art

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: Jefferson Drive, 12th Street SW

You can find a premier collection of Asian art at the Freer Gallery of Art, but that’s not all you’ll find. It also houses American and Ancient Egyptian art, and a famous collection of artwork by James McNeill Whistler.

11. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hisrshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Source: Flickr

Hours: Museum 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily; Sculpture Garden 7:30 a.m. — dusk; closed December 25.
Location: Independence Avenue, 7th Street SW

A cylinder-shaped building with an adjoining plaza and sunken sculpture garden is what your eyes see when looking at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The modern and contemporary art displayed here is meant to give a voice to the art and artists and create meaningful experiences for those in attendance.

12. National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

Learn about the world’s scientific and cultural heritage at this museum. Exhibitions, research programs and documented collections at the National Museum of Natural History include the earliest human and animal origins. Millions and millions of insects, fish and plants reside inside this Smithsonian museum.

13. National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian Institution: National Portrait Gallery

Source: Flickr

Hours: 11:30 a.m. — 7:00 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 8th Street and F. Street NW

Through new media, performing arts and visual arts, the story of America and those who’ve helped shaped it is told. Lives of American presidents, poets, activists, actors, visionaries and villains are portrayed at the National Portrait Gallery.

14. National Postal Museum

Smithsonian Institution: National Postal Museum

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Are you a stamp collector? Then don’t miss out on the amazing stamp collection and the opportunity to learn about the history of the American mail service at the National Postal Museum.

15. The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian: Renwick Gallery

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 AM-5:30 PM daily, closed on December 25th.
Location: 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

The Renwick Gallery exhibits American decorative and contemporary arts and crafts from the 19th through the 21st centuries. It’s currently closed to the public because of a two-year renovation project. The building is projected to reopen in 2016.

16. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Smithsonian: Sackler Gallery

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 1050 Independence Avenue SW

In connection with the Freer Gallery, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery also showcases Asian art. Featured here are temporary and permanent Asian art exhibitions from ancient to contemporary times.

17. Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Institution Building

Source: Flickr

Hours: 8:30 a.m. — 5:30 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 1000 Jefferson Drive SW

Located in the Smithsonian Institution Building, better known as The Castle, are the Smithsonian Information Center and the Smithsonian Institution’s administrative headquarters. Enjoy free visitor Wi-Fi and a delicious snack at the Castle Café.

18. American Indian Museum

Smithsonian: American Indian Museum in New York City

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, New York City

The New York site of the American Indian Museum presents the life, culture and traditions of the Native American people from around the world through exhibitions, live performances and film screenings.

19. Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Source: Flickr

Hours: 10:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m. daily, closed December 25.
Location: 2 East 91st Street, New York City

At the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, viewpoints on the impact of design on people’s daily life are presented over exhibitions and educational programs offered onsite and online. Currently the museum is closed for renovation but is expected to reopen on December 12, 2014.

As you can see, any and everyone who visits the Smithsonian Institution finds something that interests them. Prepare to be amazed at what you see, hear and discover at each one of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and galleries.

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