Social Science Learning Portal

The newest Smithsonian museum opened September 24, 2016, near the Washington Monument, and has welcomed more than 1 million visitors to date. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history, and culture.

It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members.

This Museum will tell the American story through the lens of African American history and culture. This is America’s Story and this museum is for all Americans. Lonnie Bunch III, Founding Director

National Museum of African American History and Culture

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Many Lenses

Three museums, six objects, many lenses.

Black Sailor
Collections

Start here to browse or search the Museums artifacts.

Publications

Publications by the museum are highlighted here (for purchase).

Carl Lewis (Cropped)
Stories

Interesting African American lives.

The National Museum of African Art is the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation, and study of the arts of Africa. On exhibit are the finest examples of traditional and contemporary art from the entire continent of Africa.

National Museum of African Art

Collection

Search by artist or object, browse highlighted themes or exhibitions within our collection, or create your own list to share.

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives

A research and reference center with over 300,000 still photographic images documenting the arts, peoples and history of Africa over the past 120 years. Eliot Elisofon (1911-1973) was an internationally known photographer and filmmaker. He created an enduring visual record of African life from 1947 to 1973. Mr. Elisofon bequeathed to the museum his African materials, which included more than 50,00...

Launch into the history of flight by surrounding yourself with icons of air and space travel. The flagship building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C, contains twenty-three galleries exhibiting hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artifacts. The museum has a planetarium and an IMAX theater for out-of-this-world escapes. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, houses many more artifacts in an open, hangar-like setting, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and space shuttle Discovery.

National Air and Space Museum

Challenger 04/1983
Air and Space Museum Collections

Air and Space Museum Collections

Photo Archives

The Air and Space Museum Archives holds three million images in various photographic formats. These collections cover the breadth and depth of the history of aviation and space flight.

Collections

The National Air and Space Museum holds in trust over 60,000 artifacts and more than 20,000 cubic feet of archival materials. Historic aircraft and space artifacts, such as the 1903 Wright Flyer and theApollo 11 Command Module Columbia, highlight the National Collection. Thousands of additional artifacts—including engines, rockets, uniforms, spacesuits, balloons, artwork, documents, manuscripts, a...

National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport is the companion facility to the museum in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of historically significant air- and spacecraft, along with thousands of small artifacts, are on display in an open, hangar-like setting.

The nation’s first collection of American art offers an unparalleled record of the American experience, capturing the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people throughout three centuries. The museum is home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world, including works by such stylistically diverse luminaries as John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, and Georgia O’Keeffe, housed in one of the oldest public buildings constructed in early Washington.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Renwick Gallery

Branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum dedicated to exhibiting American contemporary craft, celebrating makers taking both innovative and time-honored approaches to their work. The Renwick Gallery is located steps from the White House in the heart of historic federal Washington. This National Historic Landmark was designed by architect James Renwick Jr. in 1858 and was the first building in...

Devoted to the scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political development of the United States, the museum traces the American experience from colonial times to the present. The American History Museum’s collection contains more than three million historical objects—including the famed Star-Spangled Banner—and documents that explore the evolution of the American identity.

National Museum of American History

Collections

The Museum has more than 3 million artifacts in its collection. Information and photos of selected objects are available in the online collections database. The database is a work-in-progress and new items will be added regularly. Museum collections reflect the breadth, depth, and complexity of the experiences of the American people, from social and cultural history to the history of science, m...

The National Museum of the American Indian cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native objects, photographs, and media, covering the entire Western Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. The museum’s sweeping curvilinear architecture, its indigenous landscaping, and its exhibitions, all designed in collaboration with tribes and communities, combine to give visitors from around the world the sense and spirit of Native America.

National Museum of the American Indian

NMAI: George Gustav Heye Center (NYC)

Sitting at the foot of the Wiechquaekeck Trail, an old Algonquin trade route (aka Broadway), the American Indian Museum’s New York location shares the Washington, D.C. location’s incredible collection and its commitment to celebrating the diverse history and contemporary voices of Native peoples throughout the western hemisphere.

Collections

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has one of the most extensive collections of Native American arts and artifacts in the world—approximately 266,000 catalog records (825,000 items) representing over 12,000 years of history and more than 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americas.

Located in the Anacostia neighborhood, this museum examines, documents, and interprets the impact of historical and contemporary social issues on urban communities.

Anacostia Community Museum

Collections

The Anacostia Community Museum collects artifacts, works of art, photographs, documents and paper records, audiovisual media, and other materials that help us understand how communities work. Collections development efforts focus on materials that document the history and everyday life of urban communities and neighborhoods in the United States and the world. ACM collections support the museum's i...

Exhibitions

Anacostia Community Museum exhibitions focus on a range of topics and issues facing urban communities today. Exhibitions invite and motivate visitors to bring their diverse knowledge, experiences, and resources to the viewing experience. The creative use of museum collections, exhibit design, and innovative interpretive methods acknowledges audience diversity and encourages visitors to think criti...

With over 16 million items in its continually growing collections, the Archives of American Art is the world’s largest and most widely used resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America. The Archives of American Art’s primary exhibition space, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery, can be found on the first floor of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture in D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood—also home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

The world's most popular natural history museum is dedicated to understanding the natural world and our place in it. Delve into the fascinating story of our planet, from its fiery beginnings through billions of years of transformation, and explore life on Earth through exhibitions and activities, collection objects and research that happens in the lab and in the field. The museum is larger than 18 football fields and is home to the largest natural history collection in the world.

With the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery introduces you to the people who have shaped the country—poets, presidents, actors, activists, visionaries, villains...and everyone in between. Its collection weaves together story and biography from precolonial times to the present to tell the American story.

Arts and Industries Building

The Arts and Industries Building has a special role among Smithsonian buildings as the first United States National Museum opened in 1881. After being closed for nearly 12 years, the Arts and Industries Building reopened for special events fall of 2015 and has hosted several activities, including the 2016 Folklife Festival Marketplace and the Asian Pacific American Center’s “Crosslines Culture Lab.” Plans are being developed for the next chapter of this amazing building.

Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle)

Completed in 1855, the Castle is our signature building and home to the Smithsonian Visitor Center. As such, it makes a great starting point for your journey—here you can get a grasp of the scope and scale of the Smithsonian, see collections highlights from each of our museums, tour the Castle’s 19th-century architecture, see what’s going on today at all the museums, and consult with our in-house experts about what to see and do.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn features international modern and contemporary art in the celebrated Gordon Bunshaft designed cylindrical building, adjoining plaza, and sunken sculpture garden. The museum is a leading voice for contemporary art and culture and provides a national platform for the art and artists of our time.

Smithsonian Gardens

The many gardens that surround the Smithsonian museums are a “museum without walls.” All have been designed to complement the museums they border and to enhance the overall museum experience of learning, appreciation, and enjoyment.

Other Smithsonian Museum Sites

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt is the nation’s only museum dedicated to historic and contemporary design, with a collection of over 210,000 design objects spanning thirty centuries. Located in the landmark Andrew Carnegie mansion and boasting a beautiful public garden, Cooper Hewitt makes design come alive with unique temporary exhibitions and installations of the permanent collection.

National Zoo

Always free of charge and open 364 days a year, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo sits on 163 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. Founded in 1889, the Zoo is currently home to more than 1,500 animals across 300 different species.

Freer Gallery of Art

The Smithsonian Institution has two museums of Asian art: the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The Freer Gallery houses one of the premier collections of Asian art, with objects dating from Neolithic times to the early 20th century, as well as the world's most important collection of works by James McNeill Whistler.

National Postal Museum

Located in the historic D.C. City Post Office next to the restored Union Station, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum showcases the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world—including postal stationery, vehicles used to transport the mail, mailboxes, meters, cards and letters, and postal materials that predate the use of stamps. Visitors can walk along a Colonial post road, ride with the mail in a stagecoach, browse through a small town post office from the 1920s, receive free stamps to start a collection and more.

S. Dillon Ripley Center

Entered from a copper domed kiosk on Jefferson Drive between the "Castle" and the Freer Gallery of Art, the S. Dillon Ripley Center houses the Smithsonian Associates, the Discovery Theater, and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Smithsonian Institution has two museums of Asian art: the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The Sackler Gallery features both permanent and temporary exhibitions from ancient times to the present. The museum is home to an incomparable collection of art, including some of the most important ancient Chinese jades and bronzes in the world. In addition to the exhibitions on display, the galleries feature innovative programming for visitors of all ages, such as lectures, concerts, films, and podcasts that enhance and extend the visit.

Smithsonian Collections

Collections

The Anacostia Community Museum collects artifacts, works of art, photographs, documents and paper records, audiovisual media, and other materials that help us understand how communities work. Collections development efforts focus on materials that document the history and everyday life of urban comm

Smithsonian Archives

Search the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ collections, which contain the official records of the Smithsonian, as well as personal papers, special collections, records of professional societies, and oral/video histories relating to the history of the Smithsonian. Not sure where to start? See our t

Photo Archives

The Air and Space Museum Archives holds three million images in various photographic formats. These collections cover the breadth and depth of the history of aviation and space flight.

Collections

The National Air and Space Museum holds in trust over 60,000 artifacts and more than 20,000 cubic feet of archival materials. Historic aircraft and space artifacts, such as the 1903 Wright Flyer and theApollo 11 Command Module Columbia, highlight the National Collection. Thousands of additional arti

National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport is the companion facility to the museum in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of historically significant air- and spacecraft, along with thousands of small artifacts, are on display in an open, hangar-like setting.

Collections

The Museum has more than 3 million artifacts in its collection. Information and photos of selected objects are available in the online collections database. The database is a work-in-progress and new items will be added regularly. Museum collections reflect the breadth, depth, and complexity of t

United We Stand, July 1942

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY presents this exhibition to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the United We Stand campaign. We hope you enjoy touring the virtual exhibit, and we also invite you to visit the Museum, where nearly one hundred original flag covers will be on view from March 22 to

Star Spangled Banner

On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United Sta

Renwick Gallery

Branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum dedicated to exhibiting American contemporary craft, celebrating makers taking both innovative and time-honored approaches to their work. The Renwick Gallery is located steps from the White House in the heart of historic federal Washington. This National

1846: Portrait of a Nation

On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was passed by Congress and immediately signed into law by President James K. Polk. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of that event, this exhibition looks back at the America of 1846.

NMAI: George Gustav Heye Center (NYC)

Sitting at the foot of the Wiechquaekeck Trail, an old Algonquin trade route (aka Broadway), the American Indian Museum’s New York location shares the Washington, D.C. location’s incredible collection and its commitment to celebrating the diverse history and contemporary voices of Native peoples thr

Collection

Search by artist or object, browse highlighted themes or exhibitions within our collection, or create your own list to share.

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives

A research and reference center with over 300,000 still photographic images documenting the arts, peoples and history of Africa over the past 120 years. Eliot Elisofon (1911-1973) was an internationally known photographer and filmmaker. He created an enduring visual record of African life from 1947

Collections

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has one of the most extensive collections of Native American arts and artifacts in the world—approximately 266,000 catalog records (825,000 items) representing over 12,000 years of history and more than 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americ

SNAPSHOTS of LIFE: Smithsonian Photos

Breakfast Time

In the Great Bear Rainforest in the Khutz Inlet we watched this family of grizzlies eat whatever salmon was left - it was late in the season (October) and the salmon were already dying off.

Divided

Adolescence is a particularly hard time for children. They are experiencing all kinds of new changes in their bodies and in their feelings. As well, they often feel misunderstood as they are struggling to leave behind their childhood and become adults. The image of my 15 year old son wants to explai

Hidden Gates

We meet extraordinary icebergs on our way sailing to Aasiaat. I took this image in the middle of the day, then we sailed to Qasigiannguit for three hours to have a rest and explore the settlement. We came back later before the sun went down and photographed other incredible icebergs. They were like

On the Run

An Arctic Fox runs through the snow covered tundra with kelp lingering around in Cape Churchill, Manitoba deep within Wapusk National Park.

Cloudy Arch

One of the most beautiful corners of the land where I live, Galicia, is this Cape home located in the national park of the Atlantic islands. It is a unique environment to enjoy nature.

The Descent

Swallows Cave, Tonga. It's late in the day, the sun is low and piercing it's golden light through the entrance of the cave. The diver took one breath and began her descent illuminated only by the natural spotlight above.

Dad, Mom and Me

Portrait of a Baboon family. The behavior of these monkeys is very similar to the human species: power struggle, domination, hierarchy, patriarchy, etc. Besides, they are so aggressive that even lions hesitate before attacking them.

Curiosity

This photograph of a curious green sea turtle was taken in the crystal clear waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.

Wim as a Woman

Portrait of Belgian actor/musician Wim Opbrouck, dressed as a woman, shot for the poster of a local film festival

Unreal

The VW emissions scandal began in 2015 when the EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen Group, which had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing, which caused the v

Ride

The 4H club was teaching these boys how to bend cattle and administer drugs. Boy will be boys and they had some fun with it.

Calm Sea

I went to a beach in Lofoten, and the ocean was so blue and water was clear. Two kayakers were enjoying the day, and I wanted to capture the moment of blue water with the cliffs and seaweed growing on the cliffs. And the shadows from the kayakers reflecting in the sea.

Jurassic

An incredible display of light and atmosphere over the mountains of Hawaii's oldest island, Kauai.

Burden Salt Harvest

After solidification of salt, will be shaved into small heaps. Then the female workers will carry the burden to the warehouse. They start work from 3 am to 7 am and remake from 1 pm to 6 pm every day. Hon Khoi salt field is the largest salt field in Vietnam.

Mermaid

I was fortunate to have encountered a humpback whale with her calf on my first day snorkeling near Japan’s Kumejima Island. Most of the time, the calf stayed close to her mom. At one point, the calf began jumping and tapping its tail on the water near us—it was very friendly and curious. Finally, th

Violet and Eliot

Violet and Eliot are two young artistic youths living in Los Angeles. They are friends, and here they share a cigarette together outside.

Floating Lives

The floating season (Sept to Nov), also known as the Mekong flood season, is a natural flood phenomenon typical of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, the lower Mekong, Tonle Sap and Cambodia. During this time, a lot of fish come from upstream so instead of farming, locals switch to harvesting the abundant

Dolphin Line

Mikurajima of Japan is famous for the habitat of dolphins. Currently more than 160 dolphins live. And this year 20 babies were born. The dolphins of Mikurajima are given names from the characteristics of each body. I swam with dolphins of Mikurajima of my desire and received their welcome.

Water

A girl drinks water at a school canteen in Toretsk district, Donetsk region, Ukraine. The school is located near the front line and has no water supply. The water is brought by car, and pupils bring it to the school with buckets.

Precious Salt

Just a single excavator in the vast and beautiful salt ponds of Utah. Aerial image (photographed from a plane).

One More Pillow

Italy, Colle di Val d'elsa - I caught this worker on a hot sunny day as he was throwing these things on the street.

Smile

Jardines de la Reina, Cuba. I slipped slowly into the water and made my way towards his open mouth full of sharp teeth. Inch by inch, I moved closer until I was almost touching his nose with my camera. My heart was racing, but I managed to relax and keep my cool long enough to photograph this excell

Mexican Cowboys

Participants of the annual Charro Championship in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Charreada is a competitive event similar to rodeo.

Whale Dance

I love Tonga for one main reason. Whales! This year I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in the water with these magnificent animals. On this particular occasion we encountered a young whale who seemed fascinated by us in the water. She would swim upside down straight towards me and swoop d

Love Birds

Luss Pier, Loch Lomond, Scotland. Taken at midday with the sun just behind me. Patches of cloud in the sky helped diffuse some of the sun light while providing more interesting detail in the sky. I waded into the shallow water and waited until the swans were comfortable with my presence. When they b

Space Octopus

It is an octopus baby that I encountered at night diving. It seemed that I was looking into the universe with that eyes. The glowing body seemed to drift in the universe.

On the Swings

As the Long Summer Days drag on like a line carved into the dirty earth... boredom envelops these long days for an only child.

Floating Lives

The living of people at Lap An Lagoon, Hue province. The fisherman leaves the fishing net along the lagoon in the evening everyday to trap the fish.

Alone in the Crowds

In this photo, I tried to bring the intense and stacked living conditions that Hong Kong is famous for into perspective for the viewer. With so many people living in small spaces, it's strange to see all these amenities empty. As a solo traveler, I’m often alone in crowds and this photo resonates wi

Internetization

Currently In Cuba, all internet services are controlled by the state-owned telecoms company Etecsa, and internet access in private houses is practically inaccessible. Recently however, the situation has begun to change, with wifi hotspots popping up across Cubas major cities, Cubans finally are begi

Time Flies

During a safari in tanzania , we spotted a tree with at least dozen of lions on it , most of them were resting or sleeping . i found this tree trunk with one lion that was trying to catch some shade , it was in the hottest hours of the day , the flies were around him and i captured his glance at t

People. Faces. North Korea

Joseon – this is the name of the country by the inhabitants themselves. In translation it means «Country of morning freshness». Outside its borders, it is known as North Korea. Complicated, contradictory, enveloped in myths and legends in media publications. The only country on the planet in which t