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  • My favorite Smithsonian museums

    When you think research institute in the US, you think Smithsonian, and rightly so. The Smithsonian Institution is famous worldwide, and it administers no less than 19 museums, a zoo and nine research institutes all over the United States.

    Its collections number 136 million items, ranging from art and history to aviation and spaceflight. For a thorough educational trip, all you have to do is visit the National Mall, where 11 of the museums are located.

    National Air and Space Museum

    This museum is also a center for research in aviation, planetary science, terrestrial geology and geophysics, and the exhibitions reflect this interesting mix of fields. Science geeks will have a field trip in this amazing museum, where you can see replicas of spacecrafts used in real life space missions, airplanes from the beginning of the 20th century, the replica of the lunar space suit worn by Neil Armstrong and even the original production model for Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. The International Cometary Explorer which currently orbits the sun will also be displayed in the museum if NASA ever recovers it.

    National Museum of National History

    If you ask me, this is the most interesting museum of all the Smithsonians (and that’s quite a feat). If you are interested in plants, animals, fossils, meteorites, rocks or minerals, this museum will have the answers to all your questions, but will do nothing to sate your curiosity – quite the contrary!

    The Hall of Human origins features replicas of 75 skulls and covers 6 million years of human evolution. If you want something even more impressive, don’t miss the Hall of Paleobiology, where you can gawk at the life sized replica of a T-Rex skelleton, among other dinosaur remains. The museum also hosts the world’s largest collection of vertebrate specimens. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, there’s always some interesting temporary exhibit that will surely amaze you.

    National Museum of the American Indian

    The collection that started this museum was born in 1916, and since then the exhibition has kept increasing in size. The museum is dedicated to the life, language, culture, art, history and literature of Native Americans. The museum is located at the National Mall, but has two additional centers, one in Manhattan and one in Suitland, Maryland.

    There are over than 800,000 objects on display, and a photographic archive which contains more than of 125,000 images. One of the ongoing exhibits, “Our Lives”,  showcases eight Native American communities at a time, from North to South America.

    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art

    These two galleries, both located in the National Mall, display example of Asian art from all over the continent. The highlights of the gallery are the collections of Islamic art from the 11th to 19th century, Japanese prints from the last two centuries, as well as collections of porcelain, and various Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean paintings.

    What’s exciting about these galleries is that they display art from the Paleolithic to the modern age, and don’t focus only on a particular field. Anything that’s art and comes from Asia, you can find it in one of these two museums.

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