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

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

SNAPSHOTS of LIFE: Smithsonian Photos

Boundary

water skipper was searching for food on the water, it came out of a shadow, Seems to be leaving the darkness.

Muskox out in the Cold

In Jameson Land, north-west of Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland is prime hunting territory for muskoxen. As the largest member of the goat and sheep family, the muskox is a living relic from a prehistoric age when they walked the earth with woolly mammoths and sabre tooth cats. During the year, dominant

Barefoot basketball

A barefoot boy runs up to the basket to make a shot while playing a game of basketball with a friend on a court near the Malecón in Havana, Cuba.

Otters in the City

An otter is having his dinner at Marina Bay with his family. The city is an amazing example of co-habitation between people and wildlife. Nowadays there are many otter families move to Singapore to live.

The Perfect Angle

Anna's Hummingbird Mom feeding her two hungry chicks. As the Mom would approach, the chicks would open their mouth in anticipation for food. These chicks were getting very big and would elevate far above the edge of the nest as she approached.

Omnirugio

Omnirugio (from the combination of Latin words omne - universe and ruga – wrinkle) is a miniature composition (1.5 inches long) made of translucent organic materials and photographed in the cross-polarized light.

A Watercolor Transit

A calm sea with usual winds gives an opportunity for sailors to search for the hidden treasures of the Sea of Cortez. Close to the shores of Loreto, some islands give a break to the vast open sea. This offers a home for what Jacques Yves Cousteau coined as, "the Aquarium of the World." It was peacef

Swallowed

A tornado warned supercell rolls across the prairies enveloping everything in it's way.

Motion of Fishing Nets

A local man is checking over mended fishing nets at jetty before being used in fishing trawlers. To see him from above I witnessed something beautiful of colors and texture from the light between indoor and outdoor. I feel like the free form of this fishing nets is in moving as liquid.

Swan Passing by the London Mastaba

A calm wind slowly moves over The Serpentine lake in London as a swan lazily floats by; hardly noticing Christo's out of place structure that demands attention that the river's inhabitants refuse it.

Pink and Orange Cranes at Sunrise, the Foggy Lake

At winter time, thousands of cranes leave their countries of origin in north of Europe and Scandinavia, and make their long journey to Israel. They make their temporary home at the north of Israel, at lake hula, hula valley. It was a fogy morning, which gave everything a magical look. The sun was ju

Castle on the Cliffs

One item on my bucket list was to travel to a new country by myself; this shot was taken on that trip. This castle at the Cliffs of Moher is a very popular tourist attraction and I wanted to capture it in a different light that most people had not seen before. I only had a handful of minutes to take

Lone Jeffrey Pine Tree Under the Stars in Yosemite

The granite that this tree I nicknamed "Lonesome Jeff" was growing on reflected most of the star light to the point I did not need to use the head lamp. It was that bright all from just the photons that left distant stars long long ago. May be the light is reaching us now but some of those stars are

Mangrove Fisherman

A fisherman in Myanmar attempts to catch fish in the waters of a mangrove forest. The afternoon light cutting through the mangrove foliage creates a magical atmosphere.

Dichotomy

When it’s not clear what kind of person you are or what kind of person you would like to be, when you experiences uncertainty about who you really are and what your proper role in life, then you feel like that you are cut into two parts.

Is It a Beautiful Morning?

Captured this beautiful morning, where a farmer in this village is taking out his small herd of cattle on to the paddy field. I was here for quite a bit of time photographing the place, and a local seeing me came and asked me what do I see so much to take photographs of for such a long time. He said

Cranes at Hula Valley, Israel, Resting During Winter

At winter time, thousands of cranes leave their countries of origin in north of Europe and Scandinavia, and make their long journey to Israel. They make their temporary home at the north of Israel, at lake hula, hula valley. It was at the end of February, and 40,000 cranes filled the valley. It was

Sparkles

This Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) was surfacing to take a breath blowing out all the water that had collected in his nostrils. Hippos are actually closely related to wales that can also be observed with a similar behaviour.

Hot Green

Hundreds of farmers and their produced Red chillies create this stunning red carpet on a field of Panchagarh a Northern district of Bangladesh. farmers are drying up their red chillies on a sunny day.

Working in Colours

A girl is working in the traditional umbrellas . The Patterns and Colours are so interesting . It is also the art of her life.

A bug is walking over a chrysanthemum flower

This image was taken at my backyard garden. After searching flowers and the leaves, noticed this small bug on the chrysanthemum. The flower petals were covered with dew drops all over it. Suddenly the impression came into mind: like the bug was walking across white waves! And, using camera’s pop-up

Acupuncture for cats and dogs

A dog and a cat receive treatment at Shanghai TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Neurology and Acupuncture Animal Health Center, which specialises in acupuncture and moxibustion treatment for animals, in Shanghai, Aug 9,2017.

Picture Perfect

This female leopard (panthera pardus) was enjoying the last moments of golden sunshine before a storm rolled over the Chobe National Park in Botswana. Perfectly positioned, framed between the three-dimensional branches, with dark clouds in the background, this was the prettiest leopard I have spotte

The Alligator's Magnet

Taking an Alligator image can be a difficult task primarily when it comes into proportion. The image shows that proportion via those wild caimans spread like a magnet around that huge & impressive Caiman!