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.

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Collections

Start here to browse or search the Museums artifacts.

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Publications

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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...

Air and Space Museum (Dulles)
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
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

National Postal Museum
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.

American Indian
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

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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

Fire Festival

Every month in March in Tultepec, Mexico a party is held in which the inhabitants burn hundreds of fireworks. The population celebrates by jumping between the rockets, for them risking possible burns is a matter of pride.

In and Out

Origami is an art of turning a plain sheet of paper into practically any shape. The transformation of a piece of paper into virtually anything made me think of how we as humans tend to turn plain facts and life situations into positive or negative ones when we react to them emotionally. In this se

Monochrome Silhouette

A daily wage worker's silhouette is seen as he cleans the roof of a four-storey shopping mall in India's capital Delhi while dangling from a rope.

Arguing

After some heavy rain, hummingbirds were desperate to feed. Almost all the fights begin when the most territorial ones attack the most shy.

Women of Harar

An Oromo girl playing in an alley of the old city of Harar and a Harari woman passing by. Here, different ethnic groups (Oromo, Harari, Somali, and many more) coexist with a high degree of religious respect. In 2002–03, Harar received the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize for urban harmony. Harar, Ethio

Bangkok Downtown

I was having buffet in a hotel, and from the window I saw the beautiful building named "Pearl." It caught my eye, and immediately I wanted to create a black-and-white photo.

Siblings

Two sibling grizzly bears recently weaned by their mother forage for tubers together.

Tender Eyes

A gorgeous griffon vulture is seen soaring the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain. How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture's eyes? Vultures are important members of the environment, as they take care of recycling dead matter. Vulture

Mingun Temple

Construction began on this gigantic Buddhist stupa, known as Mingun Pahtodawgyi, in 1790. The structure was never completed and has suffered considerable earthquake damage since. It is located at Mingun on the north bank of Irrawaddy River, near Mandalay.

The White Line

Somewhere above the Tahiti reef. This reef protects Tahitians from big waves, and at the same time creates a calm lagoon where many species of fish can grow and be fished afterwards. With the warming of the oceans, the corals present on the reefs tend to die and directly impact the fish populations

Dinner Time

Three blue herons and their shadows, Northern California. Aerial image (photographed from a plane).

Feeding Frenzy in Monterey Bay

Late April in Monterey Bay and the humpback whales are returning from their breeding grounds famished. We came upon a large group of whales, sea lions and birds all gorging themselves on a huge school of anchovies near the surface.

Ryan Jones, Inner Atlas 2019

This is a portrait of ocean lover Ryan Jones from my personal series, Inner Atlas.

“Inner Atlas is a contemporary and conceptual underwater portrait series exploring humankind’s relationship with nature. The work stands to showcase the human spirit in previously unseen ways by making the f

Sea of People

San Fermín Festival and the Running of the Bulls. A controversial celebration, which involves both brutality and enjoyment. People of Pamplona, Spain and worldwide come to experience this spectacle of life and death. Here, festival attendees sport sangria-stained shirts.

Waiting for Spring

It's late April, and we had just received yet another snowfall, this time 12 inches. We were on day 7 of school being canceled due to the "Arctic Blast." We were all waiting for spring.

Offering Lights

A couple lights candles as an offering to Buddha in a limestone cave near Mawlamyine, Myanmar. Candles are a common offering in Buddhism, representing gratitude for the light of its teachings.

La Princesa

Here is Diana, 8 years old, in Tijuana in the Benito Juarez shelter. The Benito Juarez shelter is now closed because of health issues the migrants are now scared in different shelters. Diana had been traveling with her family from Honduras. When they left home to join the caravan they only traveled

Divine Light

This work explores the elaborate relationships of power to how we perceive humanity, construct society and identify ourselves. It compares the religious supremacy of the past with the authority now wielded by omniscient mobile technology. The divine light used by Christianity in stained glass window

Disconnection

An aerial view of an African elephant poached for ivory in northern Botswana. Poachers used a chainsaw to cut off the trunk and tusks, just 20 minutes away from a nearby camp. Poaching in Botswana is increasing rapidly, with an estimated increase of carcasses by 593% in the northern parts of the cou

Righty

This turtle is "Righty." Righty has no left hand. The cause is unknown. But Righty is popular on the Phi Phi Islands. I fortunately took some photos of Righty eating jellyfish. I was swimming with him, and I felt his living power.

X Squared

The St. Marys (Georgia) airport closed in 2017, and the yellow "X" runway markings are there to remind aviators of this fact. The photo shows the intersection of two runways.

PT Time

Visually impaired students doing physical exercises in Yangon Blind School in Myanmar. Blind children face many personal hardships through their early developing years. It's a global responsibility to promote the physical and psychological well-being of blind children while enabling them to develop

Symphony of Birds

Each year between the months of December-March, Northern California becomes the winter home to thousands of migratory birds (geese, egrets, ducks, herons and others). Aerial image (photographed from a plane).

The Emerald

A wave lost on Tahiti. After days of traveling, it has reached his goal and reveals all its beauty on the reef

Nenets Nomad

Portrait of an elderly Nenets nomad, who was photographed on the snowy expanses of the Yamal Peninsula, Russia.

Rush Hour in Ho Chi Minh City

Got stuck in a traffic jam at one intersection in Ho Chi Minh City, normally it is after working time about 5pm to 7pm. So many motorbikes with several vehicles, but no higher overpass are reasons that make traffic jams in this city.

The Mighty Seven

Seven skiers exploring unknown terrain in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. Aerial image (photographed from a plane).

The Solitary Tree of Lake Wanaka

The iconic solitary tree at Lake Wanaka, South Island (NZ). A picture of inanimate stoical quality that's awe-inspiring. I hope this amazing tree survives the onslaught of attention from being famous, so may future generations can enjoy this natural landmark.

A Fish Seller Displays His Goods

A man selling fish as pets displays his goods from the back of his moped in Hanoi, Vietnam. The man uses his motorbike to move around the city whilst at the same time displaying his fish for sale.

Feminist

One of the participants of the action of feminists for equality of women and men, which was held in St. Petersburg on March 8, 2019

Nightfall in a Small Arctic Town

Kiruna, a small miners town in Sweden, is also home to the indigenous Sami population of the country. Some of the Sami still live in a very traditional way, that's why they still travel with the reindeer all year long. You can also find some of the Sami living a very modern way of life in Kiruna its

Shields Strikes Back

Olympic champion Claressa Shields (right) meets Hanna Gabriels in a boxing match at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan, USA, on 22 June. Shields suffered a first-round knock-down by Gabriels—the first in her career—but went on to win the match by unanimous decision. Shields is the first Americ

The Dream

It was a quiet morning at Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Karnataka. Sun was opening up, and mist from the night was clearing. As we drove through the woods we saw this beautiful leopardess perching on her favorite tree. Ever since I started wildlife photography, I dreamt of seeing leopard on a tree. But

Into the Circle

A group of barracudas dances in a circular round to be seen by predator as a big predator. My friend decided to enter into the circle.

Nalumu, Acid Attack Survivor

Nalumu was born in 1994. In 2014 when she was coming back from a local market in Kampala, she received an attack with acid by an unknown man. She spent several months in the hospital, suffering from the scars and for the damages to the nerves of her hands. Helped by End Acid Violence, today Nalumu l

The Maid of Orléans

In these photos I have tried to show bondage and captivity, captivity has different aspects, from body bondage to mind and soul bondage. I have been involved with these types of bondage for many years and I have tried to look at this frame with “Fine Art” approach thus leave a constant image behind

White Noise

60 miles north of Los Angeles, California tower the mountains of the Los Angeles National Forest. The scenery drastically changing with the passing of each season. Trees that were once caught in a sea of roaring flames now stand quietly covered in snow.

Water Runs Dry

This picture tells about how human behavior sometimes destroy life and environment. How do you feel if, say, you are twisting in position as a fish in the jar? Then let the fish free and enjoy watching you from outside the jar? Can you feel it?

Brown Bear's Realm

The brown bears in Kamchatka arrive to Kurile Lake in the southern part of the peninsula to catch as many salmon as they can. But in 2018 the salmons are very late to arrive, affecting the bear's chances to survive the winter hibernation.