Video:Guide to the Smithsonianwith Heidi Dehncke
The Smithsonian Institution is a sprawling, varied tourist hotspot in the heart of Washington, D.C. There are a lot of attractions to take in, so here's a useful guide to the various museums and galleries that make up the Smithsonian.See Transcript
Transcript:Guide to the SmithsonianHi, I'm Heidi Dehncke-Fisher, a video journalist, with About.com. Today, I'm going to take you on a walking tour of the divisions of the Smithsonian Institution, residing in Washington, D.C.
Founding of the SmithsonianThe Smithsonian's mission is for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. For general information, proceed to the Smithsonian's Castle Building, located at Jefferson Drive and 10th Street. This houses general visitor information, maps and souvenirs, as well as the crypt of the Institution's founder, James Smithson. To the left of the castle is the Freer Gallery, which opened in 1923. It was the first national museum of fine arts and is considered to have one of the most preeminent collections of Asian art in the world. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the National Museum of African Art are also located just south of the Castle. The Ripley Center houses the Smithsonian International Gallery, Smithsonian Associates, the Discovery Theater, and a small conference center and meeting rooms. Visitors enter the building from a copper domed kiosk above ground between the Castle and the Freer Gallery of Art.
Hirshhorn Museum and National Air and Space MuseumThe Enid A. Haupt Garden is located directly behind the Smithsonian Castle, and the the Katherine Dulin Folger Rose Garden adorns the east side of the Smithsonian Castle and the main facade of the Arts and Industries Building. Just beyond, at Independence Avenue and 7th Street, S.W., is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Joseph Hirshhorn bequeathed more than 12,000 works of art to the museum and gardens which bear his name. As you head past the Hirshhorn, toward the Capitol Building, the next museum is the National Air and Space Museum. This museum, which opened its doors more than 30 years ago, gives homage to man's journey into both the air and space. It is located at Independence Avenue, S.W. and 6th Street.
More Smithsonian MuseumsThe next museum, as you head closer to the Capitol on the same side, is the National Museum of The American Indian, located at Independence Avenue, S.W. and 4th Street. This museum is dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the culture and philosophies of the native people of the Americas. On the other side of the Mall, on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets, you can find the National Museum of American History. This museum focuses on America's social, cultural, scientific and technological history. At Constitution Avenue and 10th Street, N.W., is the National Museum of Natural History. This museum contains more than 126 million natural and cultural specimens, and attracts nearly 7 million people a year.
Smithsonian Museums Away From the MallAdditional institutions in Washington include the Renwick Gallery at Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, N.W., which is dedicated to American crafts and decorative arts, from the 19th century to the present; the Reynolds Center, which houses the Smithsonian's American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery; and the National Postal Museum, located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue at First Street, N.E. And, of note, also, is the National Zoological Park, located at 3001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., which is known internationally for the display, breeding and study of wild animals. The Anacostia Community Museum is located at 1901 4th Place, S.E., in Washington, D.C. The nearest Metro rail stop is Anacostia Station. There is a secondary Air and Space Museum location called The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington in Chantilly, Virginia. Each museum also houses its own restaurant facility, gift shops, and public restrooms.
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