News & Politics

Angry Reviews of DC Landmarks: the Smithsonian Institution

"Reminded me of being at Pottery Barn."

Replica of Colossal Head 4 at the Constitution Avenue entrance of the National Museum of Natural History. Photograph via iStock.

An occasional series of unfortunate experiences at well-known sites around DC.

To many, the Smithsonian name is synonymous with education, research, and grand architecture. But according to some, America’s free museums actually have everybody fooled. Here are all the horrifying secrets of the galleries your tax dollars built, from the brave critics of Yelp and Google Reviews:

National Museum of Natural History

It’s not like Night at the Museum (which is set at the American Museum of Natural History in New York).

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.15.24 PM

Failure to advance human-squid relations.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.40.31 PM


Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.53.21 PM


Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.48.55 PM

(Editor’s note: Kyle R. should schedule a return trip for 2019.)

Or just go to New York instead.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.50.04 PM

Freer and Sackler Galleries

Interesting ≠ Enjoyable.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.14.36 PM

Went looking for the Declaration of Independence, got the wrong building, grammar.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.16.21 PM

Basically just a catalog of upscale home furnishings, but without the return policy.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.20.34 PM

Paintings that look like the worst morning after.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.28.33 PM

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Who needs museums when you’ve got your own bathroom?

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.32.55 PM

Museum, or horror film set?

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.34.23 PM

And then there’s this guy, giving a voice to how everyone secretly feels about modern art.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.37.04 PM

National Air and Space Museum

Simulations that get real.

Screen shot 2016-08-12 at 3.17.14 PM

It’s been all downhill since they retired the Apple MessagePad.

Screen shot 2016-08-12 at 3.18.41 PM

From a literal Flat Earther:

Screen shot 2016-08-12 at 3.45.12 PM

Don’t go unless you’re into…well, Air and Space.

Screen shot 2016-08-12 at 3.52.27 PM

National Museum of African Art

Forces you to grapple with feelings.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.45.09 PM

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Prefers to respond only to the positive parts of reviews.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.06.09 PM

The worst at chess set shipping.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.09.02 PM

National Museum of American History

Some things aren’t for everyone.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.23.19 PM

Beware of security staff with big sticks, especially at very specific times.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.13.43 PM

One-dimensional approach.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.20.44 PM

National Museum of the American Indian

Cafeteria fails to meet price points of America’s cheapest fast food.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 4.59.29 PM

No one’s right to review should be constrained by whether or not they’ve actually been to the museum.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.02.23 PM

National Portrait Gallery

Despite the straightforward name, he still felt misled.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.00.47 PM

And yet, only three stars.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.05.51 PM


National Postal Museum

This is real:

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.16.48 PM

And this is actually helpful:

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.15.46 PM

Renwick Gallery

No coffee, no stars.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.18.01 PM

For all of your wall-hanging crap needs.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.23.01 PM