Patrizia Forest

Patrizia Forest

Published: 30 Aug 2023


The Smithsonian Institution is renowned as one of the most prestigious and important cultural organizations in the world. Established in 1846, it is an incredible treasure trove of knowledge and history, covering a diverse range of subjects from art and science to culture and natural history.

With its vast collection of more than 155 million artifacts, specimens, and artworks, the Smithsonian offers an unparalleled experience for visitors, researchers, and curious minds alike. But beyond its impressive collection, the Smithsonian Institution holds some unbelievable facts that are sure to fascinate anyone.

In this article, we will uncover 14 unbelievable facts about the Smithsonian Institution that showcase its significance and unique contributions to the world of academia, research, and cultural preservation.

Table of Contents

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex.

With a staggering 19 museums, nine research centers, and a zoo, the Smithsonian Institution boasts an impressive collection of over 154 million objects.

The Smithsonian Institution was established by an English scientist.

James Smithson, an English scientist, left his entire estate to the United States to fund the creation of an institution “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The institution was named in his honor.

The Smithsonian Castle is the institution’s oldest building.

Constructed in 1847, the red sandstone castle serves as the iconic symbol of the Smithsonian Institution. It houses administrative offices and visitor information centers.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum in the United States.

If you’re a fan of aviation and space exploration, you’re in for a treat. This museum attracts millions of visitors each year, taking them on an awe-inspiring journey through the history of flight.

The Smithsonian has the only museum in the world dedicated solely to African American history and culture.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors in 2016 and has quickly become a must-visit destination for those seeking to understand and celebrate African American contributions to American history.

The Smithsonian houses the Hope Diamond.

One of the world’s most famous gemstones, the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond, is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Its estimated value? A jaw-dropping $350 million.

You can see the original Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian.

The flag that inspired the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is housed in a special exhibition at the National Museum of American History. Witnessing this iconic symbol of American history is an unforgettable experience.

The Smithsonian has its own network of research centers around the world.

From Panama to Kenya to China, the Smithsonian’s research centers span the globe, allowing scientists to conduct groundbreaking research and further our understanding of the world’s natural and cultural heritage.

The Smithsonian has a vast collection of dinosaur fossils.

Uncover the prehistoric world at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which houses an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.

The Smithsonian has an insect zoo.

Yes, you read that right. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History features an insect zoo that showcases live invertebrates from all around the world. It’s a fascinating and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History exhibits pop culture memorabilia.

Step into the world of pop culture at the National Museum of American History, where you can find iconic items like Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and the original Muppets.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian celebrates indigenous cultures.

Dedicated to showcasing the art, history, and culture of Native American peoples, this museum offers a rich and immersive experience for visitors to learn about the diverse traditions of indigenous communities.

The Smithsonian has an extensive collection of space artifacts.

From moon rocks to spacesuits worn by astronauts, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum displays an impressive array of artifacts that tell the story of mankind’s exploration of the cosmos.

The Smithsonian is more than just museums.

In addition to its museums, the Smithsonian Institution also includes the National Zoo, where visitors can see a diverse range of animals from around the world, making for a fun-filled day for the whole family.

As you can see, the Smithsonian Institution is a treasure trove of history, culture, and scientific discovery. From its vast collection of artifacts to its cutting-edge research facilities, it continues to captivate and inspire visitors from all corners of the globe. So, the next time you find yourself in Washington, D.C., make sure to pay a visit to this remarkable institution and immerse yourself in the wonders it has to offer.


The Smithsonian Institution is truly a remarkable institution that has contributed immensely to the world of art, culture, science, and history. With its vast collection of artifacts and exhibits, it offers visitors an unparalleled experience. From the iconic National Air and Space Museum to the captivating National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian offers something for everyone.

With its commitment to research, education, and preservation, the institution continues to be a leading force in the advancement of knowledge and understanding. It serves as a beacon of inspiration for countless individuals worldwide. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a science lover, or simply seeking a captivating experience, a visit to the Smithsonian Institution is an absolute must.


1. How many museums are part of the Smithsonian Institution?

The Smithsonian Institution consists of 19 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoo.

2. Are there any admission fees for visiting the Smithsonian museums?

No, admission to all the Smithsonian museums is free. However, certain special exhibits or events may have admission fees.

3. Can I take photographs inside the Smithsonian museums?

Photography is allowed in most areas of the museums for personal use. However, flash photography, tripods, and selfie sticks may not be permitted in certain exhibits.

4. How can I support the Smithsonian Institution?

You can support the Smithsonian through donations, becoming a member, or volunteering your time. These contributions help fund ongoing research, exhibits, and educational programs.

5. Are there any guided tours available at the Smithsonian museums?

Yes, the Smithsonian museums offer a variety of guided tours, both self-guided and led by experts. Check the official website or inquire at the visitor information desk for more details.