Year at the Smithsonian

SmithsonianThe Smithsonian welcomed a record number of visitors in 2009, helped by the reopening of the National Museum of American History and huge crowds in the nation’s capital for the inauguration of Barack Obama. The institution’s 19 facilities reportedly received 30 million visits, based on figures from all venues for exiting patrons. January 20, Inauguration Day, witnessed the largest single-day attendance of the year. A Smithsonian spokesperson noted that, in addition, the three largest museums on the National Mall—the American History, Natural History, and Air and Space museums—were kept open later than usual the entire summer. And the success of the hit comedy film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian didn’t hurt. People actually came in saying, “Where is the real thing? I just saw the movie.”

Attendance at the Smithsonian’s museums, which are free, was up some 5 million from the previous year. The American History Museum, which had been closed for renovations for two years, saw 4.4 million visitors in 2009. Among its most popular exhibits, also probably helped by the 2009 movie Julie & Julia, is chef Julia Child’s kitchen. The National Museum of Natural History was the most popular of all; its visitors totaled 7.4 million for the year.

If you can’t visit Washington, D.C., you can take advantage of an ever-increasing virtual presence of the Smithsonian Institution online. Among its vast exhibits you can find over 2 million records with 265,900 images, video and sound files, electronic journals, and other resources.

Related Links

  • Smithsonian Institution Has Record Year in 2009, with 30 Million Visits
    This Washington Post story summarizes the record-breaking year for the Smithsonian Institution.
    (Source: Washington Post, January 7, 2010)
  • Smithsonian 2009 Attendance Jumps
    The Web site Art Knowledge News recounts the Smithsonian’s surge in attendance.
    (Source: Art Knowledge News, January 8, 2010)
  • Welcome to the Smithsonian
    Begin your virtual museum trip at the Smithsonian’s official Web site: a wealth of online exhibits in art & design, history & culture, and science & technology, plus links to the Smithsonian magazine, Folkways recordings, and the institution’s museums, research centers, and the National Zoo.
    (Source: The Smithsonian Institution; accessed January 7, 2010)
  • Exhibitions at the Smithsonian
    This site includes links to all new, upcoming, and ongoing exhibitions at each of the Smithsonian’s museums.
    (Source: The Smithsonian Institution; accessed January 7, 2010)

One Comment

  1. Simo says:

    We were just in the Reading Museum yesterday where they have a mummy and a sukhnren head from South America. Cedar (age 7) looked at the mummy, but he avoided the sukhnren head. If you’re ever in the area, AJ would certainly enjoy it!Nancy