Washington DC, A to Z: Crypt in the Castle

The second day that Jimmy and I were in DC we went to the National Mall. Since it was Jimmy’s first visit to DC, I thought it would be fun to start at the Smithsonian Information Building (“the Castle”); it’s centrally located, convenient to the Metro Station and has a display of highlights from all the other Smithsonian museums.

Smithsonian Information Building*
aka The Castle

The Castle is also is the final resting spot of the Institution’s benefactor, James Smithson (1765-1829). If you come in the north entrance (from the mall) it’s hard to miss seeing the Smithson Crypt.

This urn and tomb were originally installed over Smithson’s grave in Italy.

The inscription on the front of the tomb is very faded. According to the Smithsonian it reads

“Sacred to the memory of James Smithson Esquire, Fellow of the Royal Society, London, who died at Genoa the 26th June 1829, aged 75 years”

Enlarged from the above picture
The Regents of the Smithsonian Institute installed this plaque at his original burial site.
It now hangs on the wall near his tomb.

If you are interested in finding out more about how an Englishman, who never visited the United States and who died (and was buried) in Italy in 1829, ended up in the Smithsonian, click here.


* I’m not happy with how this photo turned out. The sun was very bright in Washington DC on March 6th and the only pictures I took of “the Castle” were with my phone. Prior to editing, they all  looked similar to the original below.

Proof that snow melts fast in Washington DC in March.
3 days before this photo was taken, the city got over 7 inches of snow.

8 thoughts on “Washington DC, A to Z: Crypt in the Castle

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