The Smithsonian Institution includes a number of museums, research centers, and galleries run by the US Government. The organization was founded "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge", and contains many exhibits displaying some of the 137 million items it possesses.
The Smithsonian Institute has many locations, most of which are located on the National Mall. Others are in Washington DC and the nearby metropolitan area, while additional facilities and Smithsonian affiliates are spread throughout the country and, in fact, the world.
The Smithsonian Institute operates 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoo, and an information center in the DC area.
|African American History and Culture Museum||National Mall (Under Construction)|
|National Museum of African Art||National Mall|
|National Air and Space Museum||National Mall|
|National Air and Space Museum - Udvar-Hazy Center||Chantilly, VA|
|Smithsonian American Art Museum||Downtown, DC|
|National Museum of American History||National Mall|
|National Museum of the American Indian||National Mall|
|Anacostia Community Museum||Anacostia, DC|
|Art & Industries Center||National Mall (Closed for renovation)|
|Freer Gallery of Art||National Mall|
|Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden||National Mall|
|National Zoo||Rock Creek Park, DC|
|National Museum of Natural History||National Mall|
|Portrait Gallery||Downtown, DC|
|Postal Museum||Capitol Hill, DC|
|Renwick Gallery||Foggy Bottom, DC|
|Arthur M. Sackler Gallery||National Mall|
|Smithsonian Institute Building (The Castle)||National Mall|
|S. Dillon Ripley Center||National Mall|
|American Indian Museum - Heye Center||New York, NY|
|Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum||New York, NY|
Access to the Smithsonian Institution's museums, galleries, and the National Zoo is free. The Udvar-Hazy center charges $15 for parking at it's facility, due to its proximity to Dulles International Airport. Some features, such as IMAX tickets, have a charge, but exhibits do not.
The Smithsonian Institution's support comes from a variety of sources - endowment, private and corporate contributions, memberships, the Federal Government, retail, concessions, licensing, and purchase of publications.
The Smithsonian Institution was founded after the passing of Henry James Hungerford, heir to British scientist James Smithson. After Hungerford passed away childless, the fortune was willed to the United States to establish an institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. After some struggles, legislation founding the institution was signed by James Polk on August 10, 1846.