The Smithsonian Castle, or more technically The Smithsonian Institute Building, is the home of the Smithsonian administration offices and visitor information center. It is located on the National Mall in Washington D.C., sitting right behind the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery.
This amazingly gorgeous building shows hints of Gothic Revival Architecture, Norman Architecture, Victorian Architecture, and Romanesque Architecture, completed in 1855 by architect James Renwick Jr. This is the first home of the entire Smithsonian Legacy we know today, a great starting point for your group when visiting any Smithsonian Institute in D.C.
Inside The Castle, you will see collection highlights from each museum, a good way to ‘get a grasp of the scope and scale of The Smithsonian’. You can tour the castle and learn all about its iconic 19th-century architecture, as well as see any current events or special exhibits happening in any of the Smithsonian's. If you’d like, you can even set up a talk with an in-house expert about a particular museum, or as a guide to your visit in general. There are a few permanent exhibits onsite worth seeing, such as the Earliest Known Photograph of the Castle, Welcome to Your Smithsonian, Views from the Tall Tower, the Smithson Crypt, and The Smithsonian Institute: American Treasure Chest.
Take advantage of the Castle Cafe and Museum Store while here, the cafe serving up soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and seasonal ice creams.