Smithsonian Gateway

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Project Description

Every year, millions of visitors pass through the great arrival hall of “The Castle,” the nickname given to the Smithsonian Institution Building for its distinctive revivalist architecture. The Smithsonian Channel wanted to boldly engage those visitors with the full breadth of its content in a manner befitting such a gracious location.

Set in dramatic relief to the marble columns rising to a tall ceiling, “The Gateway” is the largest permanent LED wall on the National Mall. It comprises 320 sq ft of display area and over 300 digital tiles that stretch nearly floor to ceiling. The videos on display feature cultural entertainment, aerospace footage, and of course the stunning scenes of nature and wildlife the Smithsonian is so famous for.

One thing that’s truly unique about this exhibit is the way people interact with it. D3’s partner Potion Design devised an ingenious interface. The display is activated by visitor proximity and a large touchscreen control table set in front of the display. Up to 12 people at a time can take a place at the table to browse content options, select what appears on the wall and even play games with each other. In the first month alone, visitors viewed over 29,000 videos on the table and queued over 11,000 videos on the wall—more than two videos every minute.

Display Facts



Touchscreen Control Table


1,536px H X 1,216px W

384 LED Modules / 4,096 LEDs each / 1,572,864 total LED pixels for a 20’x16’ high definition display