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Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC

1000 Jefferson Dr SW Washington, DC 20560
The Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as The Smithsonian Castle, is a National Historic landmark that was designed by New York architect, James Renwick, Jr.

The building is Norman in style with a brownish-red appeal because it was constructed using sandstones from Seneca Creek, Maryland. When it was completed in 1855, the Castle became the first museum of the Smithsonian.

Today, the Smithsonian Castle is not only the headquarters of the Smithsonian Information center but it is also the best place to begin your tour before proceeding to other places of multi-museum center. While in the castle, you can view a short video covering the all the museums as well as learn about other attractions in Washington, DC. In the main information area, there are two electronic maps of Washington, DC and two huge models of the mall. The crypt of the benefactor of the institution, James Smithson is found at the north entrance of the Castle.

Only after a decade of existence, the upper story and the north and south towers of the Castle were partially destroyed by fire in 1865. The east wing was fireproofed in 1885 and enlarged to accommodate more administrative offices. In the initial period, the Castle housed the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry with his family, who lived in the east wing for quite a while. Over the years, so much development has taken place within the Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian is composed of 16 museums and galleries, numerous research facilities and the National Zoo. Volunteer Information Specialist are available to guide help you with your sightseeing itinerary. There is free Wi-Fi and a café for visitors to grab a bite. It is a worthwhile adventure for any lover of history.

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