Smithsonian Institution

Is a government corporation that operates cultural, educational, and scientific facilities throughout Washington.

James Smithson, a British scientist, left his fortune to the US in 1829 to found an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.

The US Congress established the Smithsonian on August 10 1846. The facilities include several museums on the Mall that house a total of more than 130 million items.

Among the items are many of the world’s greatest paintings, objects of importance to American history, and countless objects from the everyday life of America’s past.

Original building of the Smithsonian Institution, called the Smithsonian Castle, is one of the Mall’s most impressive structures.

Served as the first home of the Smithsonian Institution, and was also home to the first secretary of the Smithsonian Joseph Henry, and his family.

 

 

National Air and Space Museum

Opened in 1976, features exhibit on aviation and space flight. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum has more than 20 galleries, a theater, and a planetarium. The displays include the Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk Flyer, Charles A. Lindbergh Spirit of St. Louis, X1 and X15 aircraft, Bell-X by Chuck Yeager, World War II aircraft, and Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft. Museum visitors may touch a rock from the moon and walk through a Skylab space station.

National Museum of American History

Established in 1964, features exhibit on the social, cultural, scientific, and technological development of the United Sates. Has more than 17 million items. Also conducts educational and research work. The museum’s collection includes display of US cultural, military, and political development. Visitors can see like George Washington’s wartime field headquarters and uniform, the desk that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first version of the Declaration of Independence, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner. The technology section features scientific and technological exhibits. These displays include Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone, Thomas Edison’s lightbulb, Elia Howe’s first sewing machine, and Samuel Morse’s first telegraph. Also features First Ladies gowns, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, Ford Model T, locomotive, Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, Julia Child’s kitchen, and much more.

National Museum of Natural History

Opened in 1910, has exhibits and conducts studies on human beings, animals, plants, fossil organisms, and minerals and rocks from Earth and from outer space. Featured stuffed animals from many parts of the world and skeletons of prehistoric animals. It has lifelike exhibits that show how American Indians and Eskimos lived long ago. Features different fossils of Dinosaur bones, and gem collection, which includes the famous Hope Diamond, which is a largest deep blue diamond in the world and is famed for its stunning clarity and color. More than 1billion years old and belonged to King Louis XIV of France in the 17th Century.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Established in 2003 and in 2016, featuring African-American history and culture, has like 37,000 objects in its collection related to such subject as community family, the visual and performing arts, religion, civil rights, slavery, and segregation.

Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building louses a collection of items from the 1800s. These included locomotives, military, and industrial machinery.

Art Museums

There are four of the Smithsonian museums on the Mall are art galleries. Hirschhorn Museum and sculpture Garden has an outstanding collection of modern American works of art. Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery feature collections of Asian art. National Museum of African Art exhibits works by black Africans. The Smithsonian Institution also operates art museums in other parts of Washington. National Museum of American Art, which surveys American art from colonial days to the present, and the National Portrait Gallery, which includes painting of persons important in American History.

White House

Is the official residence of the President of the United States. The President lines and works in the world-famous mansion in Washington DC. Contains the living quarters for the Chief Executive’s family and the offices in which the President and staff members conduct official business of the US. Some of the most important decisions in history have been made there. It has 132 rooms. Five rooms are open in public, Blue Room, East Room, Green Room, Red Room, and State Dining Room. Famous for magnificent works of art and furnishings. Visitors aren’t allowed in the rooms where the President lives and works. But the President and member of the President’s family stop by to greet tourists in the public rooms.

Its official name was first the President’s House and then the Executive Mansion until 1901, that year when Theodore Roosevelt authorized the White house as the official title. One of the most popular tourist attractions in the US.

Original building began in 1792, was designed by James Hoban, his design was selected in a competition sponsored by the federal government. It showed a simple Georgian mansion in the classical Palladian style of Europe in the 1700’s. He modeled the design after Leinster House, the meeting place of the Irish Parliament in Dublin, Ireland. President and Mrs. John Adams became the first occupants of the White House in 1800. But work on the White House hadn’t yet been completed and they suffered many in conveniences.

The White House became more comfortable and beautiful during the Administration of Thomas Jefferson. With the aid of architect Benjamin H. Latrobe, Jefferson carried out many of the original White House plans, and added terraces at the original White House plans, and added terraces at the east and west ends.

A New Building

The British forces burned the mansion on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, President James Madison and his wife Dolley were forced to flee. The White House was rebuilt and President and Mrs. James Monroe move into it in 1817.

The north and south porticos were added in the 1820’s. President Theodore Roosevelt had the building repaired in 1902. He rebuilt the east terrace and added the executive wing adjacent to the west terrace.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlarged the west wing. An indoor swimming pool was added there. The east wing was also expanded.

Rebuilding and Redecorating

The White House underwent extensive repairs from 1948 to 1952, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Workers used concrete and steel to strengthen the dangerously weakened structure of the Executive Mansion.

 Third floor converted into a full third story, and a second-story balcony was added to the south portico for the President’s private use.

The basement was expanded, and the total number of rooms was increased from 125 to 132.

But the historic rooms familiar to the American public remained basically unchanged until the Administration of John F. Kennedy. In 1961, Jackie Kennedy appointed the Fine Arts Committee to restore the White house interior to its original appearance.

White House Historical Association was chartered in 1961, published guide books on the mansion and to acquire historic furnishings to stock the White House library with books representing American thought throughout in US history.

More major changes in the buildings historic rooms occurred during the Administration of Richard Nixon. Beginning in 1970, Pat Nixon continued Jackie Kennedy’s efforts to increase the White House interior in an early 1800’s motif.

Public Rooms

Tourists enter the White House through the east wing. Most visitors are shown only five rooms on the first floor of the mansion, but these rooms represent the elegance and beauty of the entire of the main building can accommodate as many as 140 dinner guests at one time. It was remodeled in 1902.

Private Rooms

The President, the family, their guests, and the staff use many other rooms in the White House every day. Ground floor contains Diplomatic Reception Room, used as the entrance, for formal functions: the kitchen, the library, and offices of the White House physician and curator. Second floor contains, living quarters of the President and the President’s family. Lincoln bedroom, Treaty Room, Queens Room, are also on that floor. Third floor contains guest rooms and staff quarters.

Executive Branch Building

The main Executive Office Building stands directly west of the White House. An additional Executive Office Building is located north of the main building, across Pennsylvania Avenue. Many of the President’s closest advisers work in these buildings. The headquarters of the Department of Treasury. One of the government’s executive departments, are just east of the White House. Several huge executive branch buildings stand close together on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol. This group of buildings is called the Federal Triangle includes the headquarters of the executive departments of Commerce and Justice. It also contains the following federal government agencies: the Federal Trade Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Interstate Commerce Commission, National Archives, and United States Customs Service. Department of Labor an executive department and the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lie north of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol. The FBI headquarters is called the J Edgar Hoover Building. Two other executive departments the Department of State and the Department of the Interior lie several blocks southwest of the White House.