Thursday, January 26, 2023

Get Out! And See the Smithsonian Castle One Last Time Before It Closes for FIVE YEARS

 by Peggy Robin

This week is the last week that you will be able to go inside the Smithsonian Castle, 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW, before it closes for renovation on February 1. 
Bring the young ones -- as the next time they'll be able to see the inside of the iconic red brick castle, your preschooler may be on the cusp of middle school, while a high school senior may be a college graduate already. 
Here's what The Washingtonian says about the final days before the five-year makeover begins:
The Smithsonian Institution Building—better known as the Smithsonian Castle—will close Feb. 1 for what’s projected to be a five-year renovation..... 
Aside from being an impressive place to stroll through—the 19th-century building is a designated National Historic Landmark—the Castle also houses a small but diverse collection of Smithsonian art and artifacts that provide a sampling of what each Smithsonian museum has to offer. The building’s “Welcome to Your Smithsonian” exhibit delves into the institution’s history as well as the life of its founder, James Smithson, who you can pay respects to inside the building’s crypt. The crypt, which will remain undisturbed throughout the renovation, is the final resting place of Smithson and is open to the public.
According to the Smithsonian, this will be the first major renovation of the Castle in more than 50 years. It’ll largely focus on restoring the interior, which has been altered over the years, to its original historic appearance. Notably, among other restoration work, the Upper Great Hall will be returned to its original two-story height, creating a venue for public programming once again.
Once it’s closed, passersby can still admire the towers and gothic motifs from the Enid A. Haupt Garden, which will remain open throughout the renovation. 
Hours: 8:30am - 5:30pm daily until closed on Wednesday, February 1, 2023.

The "Get Out!" event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

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