Washington DC is notorious for its excellent museums and exhibits. The most prominent is the famous World’s Largest Museum: Smithsonian, which consists of 19 museums, several research center with affiliates all over the world, most of them located in the DC area, maybe one or two in New York. Approximately 30 million people visit these museums in total annually.
The Smithsonian Institution is so big that they even have a national zoo. Whatever your interest may be you will find here. The museums were originally founded to celebrate American history, preserve and remember the achievements of many and to share and display the art works of many famous artists.
Entrance to most of the museums is free of charge. It often comes to the agenda of such a costly Institute to turn the museums into money for at least a portion of its expenses to be covered and the taxpayers can be burdened.
Even in the past, Obama’s budget commission recommended that the entrance to the museum be $ 7.50 per person, but the bill was once again rejected. The museums are free, making it possible to visit each museum many times and in detail.
Most of the museums are open from 10 am -5:00 pm, with extended hours over the summer months and also most of them are located around the National Mall, all within walking distance. Bring a good pair of shoes; you will be doing a whole lot of walking, so much fun!
The History of the Smithsonian
The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829) Hence the name “Smithsonian”.
In the 1800s, the stepchild of a wealthy British family traveled the world throughout his life. America is the only place where it almost does not set foot. Later, with an interesting and unexpected decision, this person named James Smithson made much of his wealth; he donates half a million US dollars to USA. At that time, this amount accounts for 1/66 of the federal budget. It is never fully understood why Smithson did this. According to some, in order to reject the legacy of his father; According to some, it makes such a big donation because it is inspired by USA’s experience of democracy.
How to use this money, donated by Smithson to America, is also a year-long debate. American politicians have long been hesitant about what to do in the face of this interesting and unexpected gesture. Many politicians even argue that this money from the old colonial power Britain should be rejected.
Finally, with this donation, it was decided to establish the Smithsonian Institute in 1846. This is how the world’s largest museum and research complex, located in Washington DC, the capital of USA, comes to life.
Here are some of the most notable museums, some of the ones my family and I visited anyway. To see all of the museums and landmarks I would recommend staying in the area for approximately 5 days. I can guarantee you will have the time of your life!
The Museum of Natural History
The Natural History Museum, which has 200 scientists and is the only place in the world where the most experts in the field of natural history and cultures coexist, is the third most visited museum in the world by hosting 6.8 million people a year.
This magnificent museum houses a collection of millions of natural science specimens and artifacts.
The Museum of Natural History
It focuses on exhibitions regarding Darwin and the theory of evolution against those who advocate the theory of creation.
Throughout the museum, you will find incredible displays of dinosaur skeletons and bones, natural gems, minerals, artifacts of early man existence and so much more, they even have a live coral reef and on exhibit the 45.52 Carats “Hope Diamond” one of the most famous gems in the world.
The Hope Diamond is the diamonf they were referring to in the famous movie ” Titanic”. It is quite spectacular to see in real life.
This museum attracts especially children. Butterfly Garden, which is a separate section in the museum and entered for a fee, is also a nice experience to see and touch all kinds of butterflies together.
The Air and Space Museum
Among the Smithsonians – according to annual visitor statistics – the most popular museum is the The Air and Space Museum. The Air and Space Museum, hosts approximately 8.3 million people a year.
The national air and space museum displays historic planes and aircraft to include the original plane built by the Wright brothers.
This museum is a research center for the history of aviation, spaceflight and planetary science.
If you visit, you will have the rare opportunity to see things such as the Apollo 11, the model of the Starship Enterprise and the Bell X-1, which broke the sound barrier. A lifetime experience!
It also includes an IMAX cinema that shows movies alternately all day long. There is also an observation center that is connected to the museum and close to Dulles Airport. There are shuttles from the main museum to this observation center at certain times during the day. You can go up to the watchtower of this center where many planes are exhibited and watch the planes landing and taking off at Washington International Airport.
If you want to try it, astronaut ice cream (which astronauts eat in space and whose taste is really bad) is one of the most popular in the museum’s gift shop.
The National Gallery of Art
Home to the most unique and largest collection of American art in the world. Not only will you feast your eyes on the various art masterpieces but you will also be able to enjoy many other activities and programs, such as on-site concerts, art classes, tours and all kind of special exhibitions. It is truly a fantastic place to see. It would take you at least two hours to tour the entire building.
As someone who has visited many museums, I can say that the most effective method of sightseeing is to choose the century and works you want to see by looking at the gallery plan at the entrance. The gallery receives about 5 million visitors annually. It is ranked ninth among the most visited museums in the world.
The museum has 109 thousand works, but only a few of them are exhibited at the same time.
Concerts held in the garden of the gallery on Sunday evenings are very popular. It can be quite enjoyable to bring your visit to the afternoon and then watch this concert.
I suggest you to see two-dimensional images (portrait illusion following the viewer in the picture), which are in some galleries.
I spent three full days in Washington DC; I really could have used three more days. The city is full of art and history, whichever way you look you will find something to do or visit. One of the most educational, memorable and exhausting trips of my life. Well worth it! I hope to visit again very soon. You definitely should!