Smithsonian Institution Building, Washington DC

Constructed of Seneca red sandstone in a faux Norman style that combines elements of late Romanesque and early Gothic architecture, Smithsonian Institution Building houses a visitor center and the administrative offices of over a dozen specialized museums. Nicknamed the "Castle" and finished in 1855, this building consists of a central section, two extensions, and two wings. Four large and five smaller towers are primarily decorative. Two galleries on the second floor contain the visitor information area, which offers free Wi-Fi, interactive displays, and maps. Use the visitor center's computers to find answers to most common questions about this complex of museums, or walk through the northern entrance to visit the tomb of the institution's founder, chemist and mineralogist James Smithson. Plan to visit Smithsonian Institution Building and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Washington DC attractions using our Washington DC itinerary planning site.
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  • The red sandstone building that looks like a 12th-century Norman castle is home to the Smithsonian Visitors Center. It's also the perfect place to begin your Smithsonian Institution...  more »
  • It may be officially the Smithsonian Institution Building, but everyone calls it the Castle - even the brochures. This is a great first stop to get all your bearings, learn how the whole complex of.....  more »

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