List of Smithsonian Museums

List Of Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian museums are the most widely visible part of the United States' Smithsonian Institution and consist of nineteen museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park. Seventeen of these collections are located in Washington D.C., with eleven of those located on the National Mall. The remaining ones are in New York City and Chantilly, Virginia. As of 2010, one museum, the Arts and Industries Building, is closed in preparation for a substantial renovation, and another, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is slated to open in 2015.

The birth of the Smithsonian Institution can be traced to the acceptance of James Smithson's legacy, willed to the United States in 1826. Smithson died in 1829, and in 1836, President Andrew Jackson informed Congress of the gift, which it accepted. In 1838, Smithson's legacy, which totaled more than $500,000, was delivered to the United States Mint and entered the Treasury. After eight years, in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was established.

The Smithsonian Institution Building (also known as "The Castle") was completed in 1855 to house an art gallery, a library, a chemical laboratory, lecture halls, museum galleries, and offices. During this time the Smithsonian was a learning institution concerned mainly with enhancing science and less interested in being a museum. Under the second secretary, Spencer Fullerton Baird, the Smithsonian turned into a full fledged museum, mostly through the acquisition of 60 boxcars worth of displays from the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The income from the exhibition of these artifacts allowed for the construction of the National Museum, which is now known as the Arts and Industries Building. This structure was opened in 1881 to provide the Smithsonian with its first proper facility for public display of the growing collections.

The Institution grew slowly until 1964 when Sidney Dillon Ripley became secretary. Ripley managed to expand the institution by eight museums and upped admission from 10.8 million to 30 million people a year. This period included the greatest and most rapid growth for the Smithsonian, and it continued until Ripley's resignation in 1984. Since the completion of the Arts and Industries Building, the Smithsonian has expanded to twenty separate museums with roughly 137 million objects in their collections, including works of art, natural specimens, and cultural artifacts. The Smithsonian museums are visited by over 25 million people every year.

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... Eleven of the 19 Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries are at the National Mall in Washington D.C ... Five other Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are located elsewhere in Washington ... Two more Smithsonian museums are located in New York City and one is located in Chantilly, Virginia ...

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