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Castle to Capitol: Museums of the National Mall Architecture Tour
Washington's best loved museums line the East side of the National Mall, laid out between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. Called the "Nation's Attic," the Smithsonian Institution is one of the largest museum complexes in the world, with 30 million annual visitors, 19 museums, and over 150 million items in the collection. Each unique building is an architectural landmark all it's own. Join DC Design Tours to explore how the Smithsonian Institution has shaped the fabric of the National Mall since 1855. Sights we discuss include:
- Smithsonian Castle & Garden
- James V. Forrestal Building (Dept of Energy)
- Arts and Industries Building
- Hirshhorn Museum
- National Air and Space Museum
- National Gallery of Art East and West Buildings (from a distance)
- National Museum of the American Indian
- United States Botanic Garden
- United States Capitol Building
Starting at the Smithsonian Castle, we'll visit the original home and oldest museum on the Mall. We'll see the crypt of James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian who never came to this country in his lifetime. We'll take a look at some old photos of Washington, showing the transformation of DC over the past 150 years, and an original model of the Castle. Next, we'll head outside to the gardens, "backstage" of the National Mall. We'll stop at the second home of the Smithsonian Institution, the Arts & Industries Building, one of the most colorful and eclectic structures in the city. We'll pass the Hirshhorn Museum, our spaceship on the mall, and peek at the modern sculpture garden. We'll also stroll by the most popular museum in the U. S. , the Air and Space Museum, and one of our most underappreciated, the Museum of the American Indian. Heading through the Botanical Garden to a hidden gem known mostly by hill staffers, we'll wrap up at the foot of Capitol Hill with beautiful views of the US Capitol.
This tour meets in front of the Smithsonian Castle at 1000 Jefferson Drive SW. The tour takes about 2 hours and covers approximately 1 mile.