Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
Welcome to the Arts and Industries Building, the very first U.S National Museum opened in 1881. Sometimes referred to as AIB, this museum is the second oldest in the Smithsonian collection outside of The Smithsonian Castle itself. It is considered to be the ‘nation’s best-preserved example of 19th-century World’s Fair or Exposition architecture’, the museum created specifically to house the foreign and domestic exhibits from the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, as well as the already existing collection inside The Castle.
Though it has undergone recent major renovations, the focal point of the building is still the same: the Rotunda. Tour this spectacular architectural feature, blended nicely with what is considered ‘modernized Romanesque architecture’ to tie in the old and the new within the Smithsonian world.
After you’ve toured the inside of the Arts and Industries Building head outside to the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden and see over 200 varieties of plants on border rows and in hanging baskets. There is also a very historic, yet working, the carousel on the grounds you should be sure to save time to see!