Text reading Plan and Go! with images of diverse Smithsonian visitors

Welcome to the Virtual Visitor Center

Plan your Smithsonian visit
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Please review our hours and admission information to plan your visit. All Smithsonian museums and the zoo are closed on December 25. 

In the event of a government shutdown on October 1, Smithsonian museums, research centers, and the National Zoo will remain OPEN through at least Saturday, October 7, by using prior year funds.

When you visit the Smithsonian, you’re entering the world’s largest museum complex, with approximately 157 million artifacts and specimens in its trust for the American people. Most of our museums are located in the Washington, D.C., area with two in New York City.

information specialistNeed help planning?

Talk with one of our expert volunteers via Zoom to discover things to see and do that match your interests!

Visit the Virtual Information Desk now »

Favorite an exhibition to add it to your visit list

Create your own Smithsonian adventure!

With multiple museums and more than 250 exhibitions, it can be hard to know where to start. My Visit allows you to create a list of your "favorite" exhibitions and museums to help you make the most of your time with us.

Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle)

Joseph Henry statue in front of the north door of the Smithsonian Castle

Completed in 1855, the Castle is our signature building. The Castle is closed for its first major renovation in more than 50 years. But even though the Castle is closed, there is lots to see and explore online!

Philanthropy at the Smithsonian

Entrance of the Distinguished Benefactors Room in the Smithsonian Castle

James Smithson, the founding donor of the Smithsonian, bequeathed his estate to establish the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s gift inspired a unique public-private partnership that leverages an extraordinary commitment from Congress to activate additional private support to connect with more Americans.