Smithsonian Museums

No trip to the Nation's Capital Region would be complete without exploring the sites associated with The Smithsonian Institution - the world's largest museum and research complex.  Get ready to embark on a historical adventure that will leave you wide-eyed and eager to explore. As you step foot into the Smithsonian museums prepare to be dazzled by captivating exhibits, remarkable artifacts, and mind-boggling discoveries. From ancient fossils to space-age technology, this museum is a treasure trove of knowledge, sprinkled with a generous dose of fun. So grab your curiosity, unleash your inner explorer, and let's dive headfirst into a world where history comes alive in the most delightful and unexpected ways. 

Although there are lots of these museums in and around Fairfax County, here are a few of the more popular ones:

  • 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway
  • (703) 572-4118

Wow! That's a common statement from visitors when they enter the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Located near the end of Washington Dulles International Runways, the Udvar-Hazy Center is a must-see destination in Fairfax County. The museum's massive…

  • 1400 Constitution Ave NW
  • (202) 633-4751

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight…

  • 6th Street and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20056
  • (202) 633-2214

A visit to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is a "must-see," and for some - a rite of passage. The new galleries will share the stories of humankind's desire to go faster and farther and showcase the innovations that brought us from the 1903 wright flyer to today's…

  • 1000 Constitution Ave NW
  • (202) 633-1000

The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s preeminent museum and research complex. The Museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research…

  • 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
  • (202) 633-1000

The Museum collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts—all true national treasures. We take care of everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat to Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”…

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Smithsonian FAQs

  • The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829) according to his wishes “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Today The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex.

  • The Smithsonian's footprint in the DC area includes 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park.

  • The Smithsonian museums are located primarily in Washington, D.C., United States. The majority of the museums are situated on or near the National Mall, including the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, and more. Additionally, there are Smithsonian museums located outside of Washington, D.C., such as the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, also in New York City.