The Smithsonian Institution, which includes 19 museums and the National Zoo, is the world’s largest museum complex. It was established with a $500,000 gift that was given to the American people by James Smithson, an English scientist. It holds some 136 million artifacts and specimens, although only about three percent are displayed at any one time.

Nine of the nineteen Smithsonian Museums are located on the Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument:

  • Museum of American History
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle)
  • Hirshhorn Museum
  • Arts and Industries
  • National Museum of African Art
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
  • Freer Gallery of Art


Smithsonian website