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The Smithsonian Castle is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. Designed by James Renwick, Jr. and completed in 1855, it originally housed all of the new Institution's operations, including laboratories, lecture halls, museum galleries, and Secretary Joseph Henry's private apartments. While the rapid expansion of the Smithsonian's collections and areas of research has prompted the Smithsonian campus to grow, this unique Gothic Revival structure remains the symbol of the Institution.

This tour will give you a glimpse of what the Castle's interior looked like in the nineteenth century and how it has changed over time.

You may press the purple sun to begin the standard tour or enter a specific area of the Castle by clicking on any one of the buttons above.


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Created by Christopher James Alexander, Intern, for the Architectural History and Historic Preservation Division.

Under the direction of: Mignon Erixon-Stanford, Web Architect, Office of Information Technology; Dr. Cynthia R. Field, Chair of the Architectural History and Historic Preservation Division; Richard E. Stamm, Keeper of the AHHP Castle Collection; Sabina Wiedenhoeft, AHHP Architectural History Specialist; and Amy Ballard, AHHP Historic Preservation Specialist.

Based on The Castle: An Illustrated History of the Smithsonian Building, by Dr. Cynthia R. Field, Richard E. Stamm, and Heather P. Ewing.