Visiting the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution has been around since 1846 and is a group of museums and research centres managed by the US Government.

It is named after James Smithson, a British scientist, who is the founder.  The Smithsonian has nine research centres, nineteen museums, a zoo as well as historical and architectural landmarks and is known fondly as “the nations attic”.

Around 32 million people visit each year and there is no charge for entry as it is funded by federal appropriations, endowments, private and corporate contributions, earned retail and revenue from the Institutions publications.

To get the most out of your visit, here are a few helpful tips.

Use the App

There are apps for everything and when planning a visit to the Smithsonian downloading the Smithsonian Mobile will be a great help to access maps, tours, tips, photos and podcasts and much more.

Together with this app, which is just as easy to use as the gambling online NZ options and other useful downloads; you can also download the Air and Space app and the Smithsonian Channel app.

If you prefer the traditional method you can download the Smithsonian Guide and Map that is available in 10 languages and is also available in Braille at the information counter of the museums.

Take a Virtual Tour

The Smithsonian is huge with lots to see and do, so taking a virtual tour will help you plan your visit, and if you only have limited time you can decide which things you want to see most.

Tours you can take include The First Ladies Tour or the America’s Presidents Exhibition.  You can visit the Smithsonian every day of the year except Christmas day.

Be Knowledgeable

If you are visiting the Smithsonian with or without children the best way to get the most out of your visit is to learn more about what you will be seeing on your visit.

If you are going to visit the Air and Space Museum read a book that tells the story of Charles Lindbergh and the first flight across the Atlantic.  When visiting the zoo why not brush up on your Panda facts!

When to Visit

The museums are always busy so it is best to avoid visiting on weekends, holidays and peak travel times such as the Cherry Blossom Festival.  This will ensure that you have a less crowded experience of the Smithsonian.

The best way to get to the Museum is the DC Metro, not only is it better than driving it is also affordable and fast.  The stop is at 12th and Jefferson, SW, which is just west of the Smithsonian Castle and is a great place to start your tour.

Where to Start

The Visitors Centre is housed in a red sandstone building and looks like a Norman castle from the 12th century.  This is the best place to start your visit and on your way don’t forget to stop at James Smithson’s tomb which is found outside the entrance.

Here you can also get an overview of all the collections across all of the museums and here you can speak with the Smithsonian experts and get advice.

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About the Author: Mercedes Sanchez