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Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Institution was officially founded in 1846 for the promotion of knowledge with an endowment bequeathed by its founder, James Smithson. Today, the museums of the Smithsonian comprise the largest museum and research complex in the world with 9 research facilities and 19 museums. While most people think of the Museum of Natural History as part of the Smithsonian, the Institution comprises a diverse array that includes the National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum.


Prices -

Admission is free

Hours -

Varies by museum

D.C. Metro Area

  • African American History and Culture Museum
    (Open 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) 
  • African Art Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Air and Space Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m; may have extended Hours)
  • Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m; may have extended Hours)
  • America Art Museum
    (Open 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.)
  • American History Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m; may have extended Hours)
  • American Indian Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Anacostia Community Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
  • Arts and Industries Building
    (Currently closed for Renovation)
  • Freer Gallery of Art
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • National Zoo
    (April-October: Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; November-March: Open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
  • National History Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m; may have extended Hours)
  • Newseum                                                                                                                    (Open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
  • Portrait Gallery
    (Open 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.)
  • Postal Museum
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Renwick Gallery
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Sackler Gallery
    (Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building, The Castle
    (Open 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)

Location and Hours

See the Museum Listing; all Smithsonian Museums are closed on December 25th.


  • What are the best exhibits to see with kids?

    Popular exhibits for kids include: Butterflies +Plants: Partners in Evolution (Natural History Museum), Butterfly Habitat Garden (Smithsonian Gardens spring-fall), Dinosaurs: Reptiles - Masters of Land (Natural History Museum through Spring, 2014 TBA), and the O. Orkin Insect Zoo (Natural History Museum).
  • What are the top places to eat?

    Many of the museums have cafes and places for refreshment on site.

Parking, directions, public transportation

There are several garages near the National Mall. You might find street parking if you get to the area well before the museums open at 10:00 a.m.

Must see permanent exhibits

Don't miss the live the Spirit of St. Louis at the Air and Space Museum, and the gem exhibits and the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

Helpful Links


Driving Direction to Smithsonian Museums
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