Smithsonian Castle - Smithsonian Castle information and pictures
The Smithsonian Castle
is the original museum building of the now, massive enterprise of Smithsonian Museums and exhibits, which line the National Mall
, and are found throughout greater, Washington, DC
. The Smithsonian Castle building has been affectionately named the “Castle” since it was built in 1855, most likely due to its Romanesque style of architecture, known for its liberal use of rounded towers, arches, turrets and massive stone walls.
Renowned, architect, James Renwick, Jr., was awarded the commission to design the first Smithsonian Museum building, to house the exhibits, collections, laboratories and libraries, which were completed in 1855. The museum officials wanted a Romanesque, architectural style for the building, and Renwick gave them, a magnificent adaptation, using inspiration from Norman and Gothic styles.
With multiple, rounded and curved towers, and massive, red sandstone masonry, the Castle serves as a stunning example of Romanesque style that is preserved as the oldest building on the National Mall. Renwick is also known for his design of, New York’s St Patrick’s Cathedral
, and another Smithsonian building, the original Corcoran Gallery, built in 1871, now named the Renwick Gallery.
Smithsonian Information Center
- The Smithsonian Castle today, serves as a visitor information center, and houses all the Smithsonian’s administrative offices. Visitors can begin their Smithsonian museum tours, by first, visiting the Castle to view informational videos on all 19 museums, including the National Zoo. All of the interactive touch screen, videos, are designed to accommodate, the disabled and are available in many languages. Guided tours of the Castle, and the adjoining, Enid A. Haupt Garden, are available for larger groups.
The Castle features a café restaurant, in the restored, former, children’s museum, which serves espresso and cappuccino, gourmet sandwiches, and alcoholic beverages. Visitors can take their lunch outside in the garden, and enjoy free Wireless Internet, which is available in the café as well.
Admission is free for all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo.
Where is the Smithsonian Castle: 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW
How to get to Smithsonian Castle: Subway to Smithsonian Station on the orange and blue lines
Opening Hours: Daily from 8:30am-5:30pm
Visit the Smithsonian Castle official web site here.
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