The Smithsonian Castle is a historic red-brick building in the heart of Washington DC. It is actually a museum, but it serves as the official headquarters for the whole organization called The Smithsonian Institution. This castle was built in 1855 by James Renwick Junior and is considered the oldest building on the campus of the National Mall. In 2013, it was also recorded as the most visited museum in the US with more than 7 million visitors. Tourists from various places visit this place throughout each year to have a look at its historic galleries that display thousands of artifacts connected with American history. In this article presented below are some amazing facts about the US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle:
1) More Than One Million Visitors Per Year
In 2007, the Smithsonian Castle was recorded as the most visited museum in the United States with more than 7 million visitors, especially on Saturdays. For example, there are 4.7 million people who visited this place during the year 2012 only. The Castle is designed with the Victorian Gothic style of architecture by James Renwick Junior. He also worked for major ecclesiastical buildings in New York City rather than museums or government buildings.
2) One of the First Smithsonian Buildings
The Smithsonian Institution had its beginning when English scientist James Smithson bequeathed his whole fortune to the United States of America which is more than 500,000 dollars back in 1835. After 4 years, on March 3rd, 1838, US President Andrew Jackson signed a congressional bill that formed an acceptance act for this money and later on used for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Castle is one of those first buildings that were constructed by James Renwick Junior and completed in 1855. This building was first used as a museum for various natural history specimens and other collections to be placed there.
3) A Historic Museum Building
After almost 100 years, the old building of the US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle just caught fire during 1930 and destroyed almost 75% of all artifacts inside it including its structure itself. Later on, the castle was repaired again with major reconstruction work done at that time which helped to restore its façade to appear like an original Victorian Gothic architecture style building. In 1987, The Castle was also included as a National Register of Historic Places.
4) The Castle is Home to the Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is a museum and research complex of 19 museums and galleries, 9 research centers, and the National Zoological Park. It was founded in 1846 and is now considered the largest museum complex in the world. The Smithsonian Institution is also responsible for the management of the United States’ national collections of cultural and scientific objects. In this regard, The Smithsonian Castle serves as its official headquarters and main administrative building.
5) The Castle Houses a Variety of Exhibits
When visitors enter the US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle, they can see a variety of exhibits on American history including furniture, ceramics, glassware, paintings, sculptures, textiles, weapons, tools, and more. There are also special exhibits that change throughout the year so visitors can always expect something new when they visit this place. For example, in 2013 an exhibit was displayed on “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden” which showcased various artifacts from the White House and private collections related to US presidents.
6) The Castle is Also Home to the Smithsonian National Firearms Collection
One of the most popular attractions at the US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle is its National Firearms Collection. This collection contains more than 2,000 objects including firearms, ammunition, and accessories from all over the world. It is considered one of the most comprehensive firearms collections in the world and attracts firearm enthusiasts and historians alike. Visitors can see a wide variety of firearms on display from early American flintlocks to modern firearms used in combat.
7) The Castle is a Place for Educational Programs
The Smithsonian Institution offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages at the US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle. These programs include lectures, workshops, and family activities that allow visitors to learn about the history and collections of the Smithsonian Institution. There are also special tours available for visitors who want to learn more about the architecture and history of the Smithsonian Castle.
8) The Castle is a Great Place for Weddings
Since it’s such a historic building, the Smithsonian Institution allows couples to have their weddings at the US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle. You can choose from a variety of wedding packages that will allow them to use the castle’s historic chapel for their ceremony. Couples can also choose to have landscaping and lighting features that will enhance the appearance of their wedding photos.
9) The Castle is Open Daily Except on December 25th
The US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle is open daily except on December 25th (Christmas). It is closed on Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Christmas day each year. The regular admission cost for adults is $16 with student discounts available at $11 per adult ticket. Tours of the National Firearms Collection are available every 30 minutes between 10 am and 4 pm which includes a visit to the gallery where class-3 firearms are displayed under NFA rules and regulations.
The Smithsonian Institution is based right here within the Smithsonian Castle. This castle features a variety of exhibits on American history as well as hosting special events such as weddings and educational programs for visitors to enjoy. The National Firearms Collection displays firearms from all over the world including those used in combat and those made for hunting purposes. It’s true that this US most visited museum – Smithsonian Castle contains countless things to see and do with each visit being more educational than the last. Smithsonian Castle is open daily except on December 25th (Christmas). It is closed on, New Year’s Day.