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

Anuja and Her Mother

Anuja, a 20-year-old girl from Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, has her mother help her put on a sari, a typical female garment, before attending a wedding ceremony in the city. In Nepal, most marriages are arranged between members of the same caste, but love marriages are becoming more popular every day, e

Hungry Fox

I was in Wapusk National Park in Canada looking for polar bear cubs. One morning, while driving to the bears' denning area, we noticed this Arctic fox, very far away, coming in our direction across a frozen lake and carrying something huge and red in its mouth. When it got closer, my guide explained

Road to Ruin

Homs, Syria in January 2017. Large parts of the city were completely destroyed. Nevertheless, some residents came back to try to rebuild their homes. Roadblocks from broken vehicle wrecks were built.

Donut Smoking on a Balcony

This is a portrait of my friend Alina (we call her Donut) smoking in between the coloring and cutting of her hair by another friend of ours, who is a hairdresser. The light was so beautiful on her face. I loved the way the towel framed it. The colors and light gave this portrait an almost Renaissanc

Woman in Black

Inspired by classical arts, this is a modern translation of an antique fine art portraiture. Shot in natural light with a negative fill to achieve grater contrast. Plain and simple set, no distractions. This shot is about a woman who knows who she is, who has wisdom and a powerful presence.

Hang in There

A male weaver building his nest, trying to impress the female.

Alteration note: A small branch was removed from the background.

The Living Goddess of Nepal Putting on Makeup

The Living Goddess of Nepal applies some makeup in her home inside the Kumari Temple of Patan in Kathmandu Valley. The usual Goddess make up is a black eyeliner and a big red "tikka" on the forehead that is believed to awaken the 3rd eye and to give power.

Horse Racing

A child is racing his horse and trying to overtake several horses that are his opponents on the Regent Cup trajectory on October 27, 2018 in Jeneponto Regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Coconut Pickers Solar Portrait

Cristobal Cespedes Lorenzo (51) sits on his raft while carrying coconuts across the river to his home in Copala, Mexico. Cristobal and Francisco Manzanares Cagua (16) both work picking coconuts, which they then sell to a company that makes coconut butter and oil.

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Sea Snail Spawning

A female toothed top shell sea snail releases tiny greenish eggs that will be carried away with the currents, and will later be fertilized and develop into larvae in the open sea.

Polar Bear's Sleep

In recent years, the ice in Svalbard melts sooner and sooner, and as ice melts the bears are reducing their activity to save energy and fat. This bear sleeps on his last snow and hugs it with love.

Missing Serenade

When I miss someone I wish I could fly like a bird, flying above to seventh sky and finding you there... This picture is dedicated to anyone who might be missing someone special in their life

Proven

An alpha Galapagos shark goes on a morning stroll while I enjoy this majestic moment. There is a big misperception about sharks in today's society. They are a huge factor in why our ocean is still alive today. Without sharks, our ecosystem will not be able to survive. Respect the ocean because it is

Where Is Home?

The subject in the photograph is wearing a yellow burqa and wading into the water. The landscape depicts a dark body of water with an opening in the islands. As the body goes in further, looking for the familiar semblances of home, it also goes deeper into the water, inevitably trapped and sinking.

Efficiency

It is both cute and creepy seeing wild dog pups playing with an impala head, an activity which will strengthen their jaws.

Sharing Emotion

A young boy named Shukor taking care of almost hundred of buffaloes belonging to his father. This spontaneous moment suddenly happened in front of me when a buffalo lying down against him with the same face expression. It just showed they were sharing a same emotion.

Stretching

I've been following this international circus festival in Latina for about 10 years. I stay most of the day with the artists backstage. I follow them until they get used to my presence.

Depression Among ATO Veterans

A photo from the series about depression among ATO veterans. The ATO is the term officially used by the Ukrainian government for Russia’s war against Ukraine in the Donbas, which has been ongoing since April 2014.

Shattered

A fallen tree on top of Cerro Grande serves as a testament to the harsh conditions of the peak. This tree was torched in the Cerro Grande fire that started at this exact spot in 2000, and it has since been destroyed by a summer lightning storm. This is the far backcountry of Bandelier National Monum

GRVTY2 No.5

Imagine, dream. Bend and break the rules. GRVTY2 tries to see the world in an unexpected way. Places you see every day, either by traveling or on a screen, are turned into something else, not just the place and its stories, but a world in which the rules are very different. A chance to escape the vi

Woman Painting in Peru

Peru is full of incredible women. All of the markets are full of amazing craftswomen weaving, selling handmade leather and silver goods, or in this case, painting masks.

Return

The sea hunter returns home after a successful hunt in the Chukchi sea in Chukotka.

Birds of Buttermere

The sentinels of Buttermere stand along the shore of the lake, backdropped by the dramatic Cumbrian fells. When the wind is calm the reflections are stunning in the morning, and this flock of feeding birds added a little extra to the shot.

Yemanajá

A woman honors Yemanajá very early in the morning. Feb. 02, 2018. Salvador, Bahia. Brazil.

In Candomblé and Umbanda, every practitioner is believed to have his own tutelary orisha, which controls his or her destiny and acts as a protector. Yemanjá is one of the seven orishas. She is the p

Happy New Year

It is never easy to secure the best spot for New Year’s Eve fireworks in London. I arrived at least 5 hours earlier to get a nice spot to enjoy the fireworks, but my view was blocked by the selfie stick, which looked even higher than London Eye!

Walruses Reaching the Beach to Rest

After entering the bay, sleeping on the rocks at the foot of the cliff for weeks, walruses eventually reach the bottom where a sandy beach welcomes them for a month. In the meantime, the temperature dropped and snow appeared in the surroundings. There will be around 90,000 walrus on the beach and 30