Smithsonian Castle

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1000 Jefferson Dr. SW, Washington, DC, USA
202-633-1000

Smithsonian Castle Washington Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
110 reviews
Smithsonian Castle Jan 15, 2013
The Castle was the first building constructed on the National Mall between 1847 - 55 using funds donated by the enigmatic Englishman James Smithson. Smithson never set foot on American soil while alive, though his body lies at rest in a crevice inside the Castle building. Today the structure houses offices, a snack bar, and an information booth. Designed by the architect James Renwick in the Gothic Revival style popular in the mid-19th century, the Castle is meant to resemble the architecture of Oxford and Cambridge Universities (or at least what Americans think those towns look like).

In the 1980s the land behind the Castle was dug up for the installation of an underground museum complex. An elaborate garden covers the complex, making it a rooftop garden even though it appears to be planted on solid ground. The Enid Haupt Garden is divided into the central Parterre, the Moongate Garden bordering the Sackler and Freer Galleries dedicated to Asian art, and the Fountain Garden next to the African Art Museum. Workers from the nearby government buildings aften congregate here during lunchtime on pleasant days. Technically this area is known as the Smithsonian Quadrangle, though I've never heard anyone use that name.
Smithsonian Castle
Enid A. Haupt Garden
The Castle in the distance
Medieval Japanese lantern
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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walterman9999 says:
Had a great day at Smithsonion around 1960. I remember some exhibits but dont remember the fine buildings and castle.
Posted on: Sep 24, 2016
cotton_foam says:
I still want to go back to Washington DC sometime in the future...we missed a lot of the amazing points on interest when we visited. Surely, this museum will be on my top list in my next visit! :) thank you for sharing!
Posted on: Dec 12, 2013
spocklogic says:
Great collection of photos in the castle grounds!
Posted on: Jan 20, 2013
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Africancrab Africanc…
773 reviews
Smithsonian Institution Information Center Jul 04, 2012
The Smithsonian Castle is not a castle in the sense of residence. It is in fact the central information stop for all things Smithsonian. It is historic in the sense that it is the oldest of the 17 Smithsonian museums in the Washington area. At the castle, you will find helpful information on not only the museums, but many other attractions in Washington. It does have some exhibitions and house scale models of Washington's monuments as well as the crypt of founder James Smithson.

"Travel is an exciting and adventurous passion, it is quite expensive but the reward outweighs the expense. If you can afford it, do it!" Africancrab
Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle
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X_Drive X_Drive
836 reviews
A stand out in a town of stand outs! May 21, 2010
The Smithsonian Information Center in the Castle, as it is called is one of the most outstanding buildings in all of the Washington, D. C. area. Done in brick color with several beautiful details and it stands out from everything. Inside there are several exhibits to see and experience. They change from time to time, but a few are noted as permanent. They are… The Smithsonian Institution: America’s Treasure Chest, Featured Areas: Children’s Room, The Commons, and Schermer Hall, Exhibit Panels: The West Wing: A Chronology, Smithson’s Crypt, and the Information Center itself, which includes a theater, gift shop, café and several exhibitions. There is no admission charge but parking is on street only which can be a problem sometimes.
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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junartkim says:
Wow! I wanna explore the castle. I got more interested in freemasonry after reading Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol.' ;)
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013
rsvpme says:
Interesting place....architecture especially.
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013
spocklogic says:
Seems to be a run on reviews of this lately, but it's a good thing - First there were none and now there are some. I've seen it many times myself, but have never actually been inside it. No indication others have either based on the photos, except maybe one photo by Harriet.
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013

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photo by: b93sp