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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  • At the "Castle" where we Learned about how the Smithsonian institution came to be and how it continues to grow.  more »
  • Be prepared for the bag search. I was required to open ALL of my bags and zippered areas so that an employee could poke around inside with a stick. Once inside, there are bathrooms, gift shops, small ...  more »
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