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  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.
  • The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.

The Gates into the Gardens at the Smithsonian Castle are now open.

Covering over four acres, the Enid A. Haupt Gardens are located between the Smithsonian Castle and Independence Avenue.  DC is full of surprises, when visiting the Gardens on the Independence Avenue side of the Castle, you would not know it but you are standing on the roofs of the National Museums of Asian and African Art Museums. If you have time, walk towards the Capitol along the Mall side of the Castle where the grass is, and continue into the Gardens at the Arts and Industries Building. There are excellent opportunities for taking pictures of both the buildings and gardens in this area. To see some sample pictures of the area, click here

The Smithsonian Castle was the first Smithsonian to open in Washington, it opened in 1855.  It was designed by James Renwick Jr.
The Castle or Smithsonians were not at all part of the plan the original city planners had visioned. It is all the result of a very generous fortune James Smithson who was from England willed to the United States. He gifted America with funds to establish a research institute here in a country he never stepped foot in.  The Castle opened for business originally in 1855 – Pre Civil War, the original Secretary, Smithsons Chief Executive Joseph Henry lived with his family in the building. Hard to believe now, but there was a big push to have it torn down around the turn of the century to make room for the Marble movement that was taking place.

The Castle is located just off of 2 different Streets. Jefferson Drive and Independence Ave. SW.
The Address is 1000 Jefferson Drive or 1000 Independence Ave. SW
Exiting the Metro at the Smithsonian Metro Station get you very close to the Castle.

 

The Castle operates as the official visitor center for the Smithsonians, so you can expect to find staff members there that are able to answer any questions you may have about the museums. There are some interesting 3D Maps of the Mall area in the Castle, in the east wing you will find a wall of historic black and white photos of this area of the city that date back a hundred years or more, and in the west wing you can find interesting information about James Smithson and a variety of the the types of things to expect to see in some of the other museums collections. James Smithsons tomb is also in the Castle near the Entrance / Exit on the North Side of the building by Jefferson Drive.