Washington DC: The Smithsonian Museums

The rest of the day were spent at the museums. I am not sure exactly how many museums there are but I think there must have been over a dozen major ones in Washington DC. The beautiful thing about the museums in the DC area is that they are all free. Collectively these museums are known as the Smithsonian Museums.


The existence of the Smithsonian Museums are attributed to this man, James Smithson. He was a rich Englishman and a scientist. When he died in the 1700s, he donated all his wealth to the US Government for the purposes of research. It did not seem like a lot what he donated. The value of what he donated was about $10 million at today’s value.


Today, the Smithsonian Museums manages not only museums but they also manage a zoo too. Most of the Smithsonian Museums are located in Washington DC. The above is the cluster of Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall. Many of the museums are huge and you can easily take more than 1 day to cover just one.


The Smithsonian Institution Building, better known as the Smithsonian Castle, is the first of all Smithsonian buildings. This is also the most beautiful of all Smithsonians and has a beautifully cared garden.


Here they don’t have a lot of exhibits but they cover a wide range of exhibits of current interests. This is the best place to start your tour of the museums as it gives you a good insight of the background of the Smithsonians.

Our goal is to visit primarily the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. We also wanted to just see sections of the other museums along the way but did not want to spend more than 30-60 minutes in those.


To our disappointment, the National Museum of American History was closed for renovations. What a bummer. We wanted to learn more about American history and culture on this trip.


So instead we settled for the National Museum of Natural History which we spent just under an hour here. Since we had planned to visit the American Museum of Natural History when we get to New York the following week, we thought that this is perhaps the same style of exhibits. This museum is really crowded.


We chose to also visit the Arthur M Sackler Gallery since they specializes on Asian Art. There was a guided tour but we were bored. I guess we can’t relate to Chinese Arts. We left the guided tour half way.


Right across the Sackler Gallery was the National Museum of African Art. We almost went in until I saw a wifi zone sign … woo hoo! We found a bench by the gardens, whipped out the iPod Touch and … he he he … checked for comments left on chowtimes.

Suanne and I looked forward to reading your comments as it tells us if you’re enjoying reading what we’re blogging. We want you to be entertained, you see.


Towards that later part of the day we went to the Botanical Gardens. We don’t have green thumbs and so really did not quite appreciate the place which was really humid inside. However, we loved the air-conditioned reception area.


The most time we spent was at the National Air and Space Museum. This is the most popular and crowded museums of all the Smithsonians. More about this place tomorrow …

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