Smithsonian Institution Building, Washington DC

Constructed of Seneca red sandstone in a faux Norman style that combines elements of late Romanesque and early Gothic architecture, Smithsonian Institution Building houses a visitor center and the administrative offices of over a dozen specialized museums. Nicknamed the "Castle" and finished in 1855, this building consists of a central section, two extensions, and two wings. Four large and five smaller towers are primarily decorative. Two galleries on the second floor contain the visitor information area, which offers free Wi-Fi, interactive displays, and maps. Use the visitor center's computers to find answers to most common questions about this complex of museums, or walk through the northern entrance to visit the tomb of the institution's founder, chemist and mineralogist James Smithson. Plan to visit Smithsonian Institution Building and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Washington DC attractions using our Washington DC itinerary planning site .
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Smithsonian Institution Building Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
3,527 reviews
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  • This was our first stop as recommended. Enjoyed the architecture of the building as it was the first Smithsonian. It discusses its founder, who has never even visited the United States. Good examples ...  more »
  • On the way to the museum of air and space we find this kind of castle that caught our attention.., so much so that we even entered. It turns out to be a center of education and research. Don't waste your time, see him on the outside and little else.
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