The National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC is a private nonprofit organization created by Congress in 1863 to conduct research and provide its findings to the US government. Housed in a 1924 neoclassical building just north of the National Mall, the academy hosts temporary exhibitions, lectures, films, and other cultural programs.
The National Academy of Sciences welcomes the public to its recently renovated East Gallery for rotating exhibitions and events. The building itself—with a combination of Greek, Egyptian, and Byzantine architecture—is worth checking out, and the interior is equally impressive. The foyer holds a bronze and glass gate with an intricate carving of the zodiac, and the Albert Einstein statue on the southwest corner of the academy’s grounds is a photo-op favorite.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Academy of Sciences is of particular interest to architecture and science fans.
- Entrance to the building and exhibits is free.
- Check the academy’s website for a schedule of exhibitions and events.
- The NAS building underwent renovations in 2010 to make it more sustainable and more accessible to guests with disabilities.
How to Get There
The National Academy of Sciences is located north of the National Mall, at Constitution Avenue and 21st Street NW. Best access options are walking, bus, or Metrorail; Foggy Bottom–GWU is the nearest metro stop, about eight blocks from the academy. If driving, there is a dedicated parking lot at the intersection of 21st and C streets NW.
When to Get There
The National Academy of Sciences is open 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday with occasional closings; check the website for up-to-date opening times. The best times to visit DC are in the relatively mild spring and fall months. Winter and summer can bring extreme temperatures, and summer is exceptionally busy with tourists and school groups flocking to museums and attractions.
Formerly known as the Koshland Science Museum, the National Academy of Sciences has launched a public engagement initiative called LabX. Its aim is to promote evidence-based decision-making though virtual and in-person interactive exhibitions in various locations around Washington DC and the country. Check the website or LabX blog for upcoming events.