News & Politics

Smithsonian Identifies Possible Sites for New Museums

Four locations around the Mall are in play for the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.

The south facade of the Arts and Industries Building. Photograph via Wikimedia Commons.

The Smithsonian Institution announced Wednesday that it has identified four possible sites for the planned National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. All sites are in the vicinity of the National Mall:

The Arts and Industries Building: The 1879 late Victorian building boasts a prime location right on the Mall, next to the “Castle.” The Smithsonian has not yet found a permanent purpose for the building, which closed in 2004 for renovations and reopened last year with the soon-to-close “Futures” exhibition.

• A “Northwest Capitol” site: Near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, so likely near the US Botanic Garden and a short walk from the National Museum of the American Indian. The Smithsonian says this site is undeveloped. It’s under Capitol jurisdiction, which could augur a tricky bureaucratic dance. Or maybe not!

• A “South Monument” site: Right in the heart of the Mall, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Jefferson Drive. The National Park Service has jurisdiction.

• A site near the Tidal Basin: Another undeveloped site, this one close to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. NPS has jurisdiction on this one, too.

The institution’s Board of Regents narrowed the list from a pool of 25 sites and plans to make a decision on the two locations by the end of the year.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.