Fact Sheets

Facts about the Smithsonian Institution

October 1, 2014

The Smithsonian Institution is a museum and research complex of 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park, as well as research facilities.

  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Arts and Industries Building*
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York City)*
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Chantilly, Va.)
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture**
  • National Museum of African Art
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center(New York City)
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Postal Museum
  • Renwick Gallery
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (“Castle”)

*Closed for renovation.

**The National Museum of African American History and Culture is scheduled to open in 2016 on a National Mall site between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History.


Budget—The Smithsonian’s federal appropriation for fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013–Sept. 30, 2014) is $805 million. The Institution is about 60 percent federally funded. In addition, the Smithsonian has trust funds, which include both contributions from private sources (corporations, foundations and individuals) and revenues from Smithsonian Enterprises (stores, restaurants, IMAX theaters, gift catalog, etc.).

Visitors—There were more than 30 million visits to the museums and the National Zoo in 2013. Admission to all Smithsonian museums in Washington is free. The museums are open seven days a week. (The Smithsonian is closed on Christmas Day.) A visitor’s center is located in the “Castle.”

Smithsonian Collections—The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 126 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian Affiliations—Through a program of long-term loan of collections of artifacts, the Smithsonian shares its vast collections and expertise with museum-goers around the country. There are more than 175 affiliates in more than 40 states, Puerto Rico and Panama.

Traveling Exhibitions—The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) organizes exhibitions and circulates them to museums around the country. Each year, SITES travels more than 50 exhibitions to hundreds of U.S. cities and towns from coast to coast, where they are viewed by millions of people.

Research Facilities—These include Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Fla.

History—Established with funds from James Smithson (1765–1829), a British scientist who left his estate to the United States to found “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”



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Linda St.Thomas
(202) 633-5188

Becky Haberacker
(202) 633-5183