Smithsonian museums – additional informationThe Smithsonian museums are part of the Smithsonian Institution which belongs to the United States government and was created after the death of Englishman James Smithson in 1829. Despite having never stepped foot in the U.S., he left his entire estate to the United States government for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge”. The Smithsonian Institution was finally established in 1846 and is today the world’s largest museum and research complex.
In 2020 and 2021, the number of visits to Smithsonian museums and institutions was significantly lower compared to 2019, as all Smithsonian museums stayed closed between March 2020 and May 2021 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result of the COVID-19 impact, the number of visits to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History hit a record low in 2020, then slightly rose in 2021. The number of visits to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History followed a similar trend.