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Planning A Trip To The Smithsonian Museum

National Museum Of Women In The Arts

Highlights of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington

Founded by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and Wallace F. Holladay in 1981, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is dedicated to displaying works of art by women from all over the world. Their expansive collection includes pieces by more than 800 artists. View striking artwork created throughout various centuries learn about the many different women who have expressed themselves through a diverse array of mediums.

Smithsonian Museum Of Natural History

Ever wonder if theres any truth to the curse of the famous Hope Diamond? Or wish you could see for yourself the fossils of an ancient mammal or a dinosaur? Then step inside the Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History. Millions of people come each year to get a close look at some of the worlds most intriguing, beguiling specimens that the Museum has on display.

Make The Most Of The Metro

One of the most important tips for visiting the Smithsonian museums is not to drive. The DC Metro is a fast, easy, and affordable way to get to the Smithsonian museums located on or near the National Mall. The Smithsonian metro station stop at 12th & Jefferson, SW, is just to the west of the Smithsonian Castle, the perfect place to begin your Smithsonian adventure. This stop is available on the blue, orange, and silver lines.

If your itinerary includes visiting the Smithsonian museums on the east half of the National Mall, then the Archives Metro Station or the LEnfant Metro Station may be more convenient.

Sage Advice: The Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley is another convenient way to get around Washington, DC. And, if you plan on visiting Arlington National Cemetery during your trip to Washington, DC, you can upgrade your ticket to include the cemetery and water taxi.

Related Article: The People and Places Behind Popular DC Metro Stations

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All Of The Sites Will Require Free Timed

Travel + Leisure Condé Nast Traveler Lonely Planet

Visitors will once again be able to catch a glimpse of panda cub Xiao Qi Ji, as Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian announced the May reopening of seven of its museums, as well as its National Zoo, where the famous baby animal lives.

Enhanced safety measures will be enforced, including mandatory masks for everyone ages two or older. Visitors must obtain a free timed-entry pass in advance in order to limit capacity and ensure physical distancing, the Smithsonian said in a release. The passes can be presented on a mobile device or as a printout, and each person may reserve up to six per day for each location. Visitors of all ages will need their own pass. Cafes, tours, and events will remain closed, as will certain exhibits and spaces, as detailed on each museum’s site.

The first to open will be the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located in nearby Chantilly, Virginia. The venue will welcome back visitors on May 5, which also happens to be the 60th anniversary of the United States’ first human spaceflight by Alan Shepard. The Mercury capsule, called Freedom 7, is set to make its debut at the location and remain on display through most of the summer. The center will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

According to data in The New York Times, the nation’s capital is still at a “very high risk” of exposure to COVID-19, with 15 infections per 100,000 people in the last two weeks.

Smithsonian National Museum Of African Art

How to Plan a Trip to Washington DC: Your Travel Guide

The African Art Museum is easy to miss. Its right behind The Castle in a small square building topped by a blue dome. Inside is traditional African art classic wooden statues that play on proportions, oil paintings that manipulate mood, vivid colored works cut to extravagant detail.

The museum is small so if you want a slower-paced visit , this is one of my top picks!

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Hidden Gems In Washington Dc

While we all know of the popular monuments, museums and memorials that make Washington DC so famous, there are many less famous points of interest worth discovering. When youre getting ready to visit our nations capital, here are a few of the citys hidden gems you should consider including on your itinerary.

Parking: Dont Count On It

With this in mind, driving in the area may be more trouble than its worth unless you need a place to stash your oversized luggage .

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Are Visiting The Smithsonians Worth It

Yes! Yes! and Yes! I may be a little critical of visiting the Smithsonians but thats only because most people have limited time while they are in DC. I know their potential and some live up the hype. I think they do a great job of displaying our history. Its hard not to leave without finding something completely new and exciting.

Charter A Bus To Washington Dc

8 Tips for the Smithsonian and FREE museums in DC

If youre ready to explore Washington D.C.s amazing Smithsonian and National museums via charter bus rental, let D.C. Charter Bus Company guide your way. Give us a call at 202-903-0059, and our team will give you a free, no-obligation quote for your next group trip! And if you havent already, check out our other guides to Washington D.C.s Smithsonian Museums:

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National Gallery Of Art

The National Gallery of Art may not be a Smithsonian Institution, but it stands alongside them just as strongly. This museum features a stunning curation of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, decorative art, and time-based media artartworks based on videos, films, audio, and computer software. You can spend an entire day perusing the works on display here, but if you only have a few hours, be sure to prioritize some collection highlights:

Know Before You Go: Guidelines For Visiting

The safety of the Smithsonian’s visitors, volunteers, staff, and collections is of the highest importance. As the nation’s most beloved collection of museums and galleries, we work hard every day to ensure the preservation of our country’s treasures for the enjoyment of generations to come.

The following safety measures are in place to protect the health of our visitors, staff, and volunteers based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local governments. We ask that all visitors, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, follow these safety measures to protect everyones health.

Please note that we may adjust our safety guidelines based on changing CDC COVID-19 Community Levels. We encourage visitors to regularly check our website before their visit for the latest guidelines. During this time, we are implementing the following safety measures:

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Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Journey back to the days of the Pony Express and see first-hand how the mail was delivered in colonial America, through times of war and into the present day. At the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, visitors learn about the amazing history of the American postal service and how it evolved to become what it is today. Located on the lower level of the old Post Office Building just next door to Union Station, the building was constructed in 1914 and served as the Washington DC post office until 1986.

open

The National Gallery of Art DC was created in 1937. Through the generosity of Andrew W. Mellon, a financier who was also a public servant, the Museum gained its first collection. Mellon had a passion for art and his large collection of old master paintings, sculpture and other works were intended for all of America to enjoy. After his death, Congress accepted his collection and thus the National Gallery was born.

Many Of The Museums Have A Caf Or Food Court

Smithsonian Museums, Washington D.C.
  • You can also bring your own food for a picnic on the Malls lawn or in the Portrait Gallerys courtyard.
  • As long as everything is sealed up well, you can carry food and water with you in your bag or store it in a locker.
  • Map of food vendors on the National Mall with menus. Or check the list below.

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Plan Your Smithsonian Visit In Advance

There are so many Smithsonian museums and individual exhibits that it can feel overwhelming to navigate. It is really helpful to look at the websites for the Smithsonian museums in advance so that you can see what exhibits are going to be on display when you arrive. There are also smartphone apps for these museums that you can download and bookmark your favorite exhibits.

Another important Smithsonian museum tip is to check to see if you need a ticket for a particular museum or exhibit. Since its opening if you want to attend the National Museum of African American History and Culture you need a free timed ticket. Check out our blog post for specific details about getting one.

Things To Do In Washington Dc With Kids

Looking for things to do in Washington DC with kids? Look no further because we offer parents many tips. If you only have a few days to spend in DC with your family, youll want to make the most of your time in the city. Americas capital city is home to many memorials, museums and attractions to interest people of all ages. With these time crunch tips, youll be able to see the highlights, experience DCs rich history and enjoy the most important things to do with family.

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Natural History Museum Must

African Elephant

In the rotunda as you enter from the National Mall, you’ll see a 12-ton, 14 foot tall African elephant. Learn about it as you can walk around it to see it from all angles.

Hope Diamond & Dom Pedro Aquamarine

The highlights of the gem collection, these two stones are both beautiful and rare. The Hope Diamond is a 45 carat, deep blue diamond. The Dom Pedro Aquamarine is a new addition. It is the worlds largest faceted aquamarine gem at 10,363 carats.

This ticketed part of the museum features live butterflies and exotic plants. Admission is free on Tuesdays but tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis. The tropical environs allow you to see different varieties from all over the world.

Mummies

Not just a chance to see some of the artifacts that you’d find in an Ancient Egyptian tomb , this exhibit focuses on the science behind it. With hi-res images and scans, you can look inside the mummies.

Teddy Roosevelt’s White Rhino

The Northern White Rhino is extinct in the wild and only survives in captivity. This specimen has been on display since 1913. It was part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s trip to Africa as part of a Smithsonian expedition in 1909-10. It is the only Roosevelt specimen still on display. You can find it in the Kenneth Behring Family Hall of Mammals.

Check out our DC Tourism Guide, with budget advice, travel guides, and information about local Washington DC attractions

Take Advantage Of Highlight Tours

National Mall TIPS & HACKS

A lot of the Smithsonian museums offer free highlight tours a few times every day. These are led by trained and knowledgeable tour guides. If you think you might be interested in a museum, but arent quite sure about some of the exhibits, a highlight tour is a great way to get an overview. The one downside is that since these are free tours the group sizes can get fairly large. But, do not let it deter you from taking one.

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Ready To Go Use These Helpful Links To Book Your Trip

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Class Trip To The Smithsonian National Air And Space Museum

Air and space travel is only a century and a few years old and we can thank theWright Brothers for that. Air travel has become one of the main modes of transportation since its inception. The industry and the tools used within have evolved over time. A school trip to The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is a great opportunity for students to learn about the past, present and future of the aviation industry.

  • History Lesson
  • Observatory

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Prepare For Your Visit

Consider accessibility concerns

The Museum’s entrances, exhibitions, and restrooms are fully accessible. See our accessibility page for specific amenities and to request an interpreter. The museum has developed tip sheets and guides for students with cognitive or sensory disabilities who plan to visit the exhibitions America on the Move and the Star-Spangled Banner.

Plan for lunch

The museum’s main cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown bag lunches may be eaten outside on our terrace or on the National Mall. We do not offer storage or eating facilities for brown bag lunches inside the museum, and all food and drink must be in sealed containers if being brought into the museum.

Chaperone Policy

All children must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. When accompanying children, one adult can chaperone up to a maximum of five children.

Plan your route

The museum has over 150,000 square feet of public space, and it is easy to get disoriented or lost. We recommend printing museum maps for students and chaperones. Printable maps can be located here.

One Day To See The Smithsonian Heres How To Do It

The Best Museums In Washington DC

The Smithsonian museums are, to crib a phrase from a certain movie, a national treasure. Theyre filled with one-of-a-kind artifacts and art dating back thousands of years, theyre open nearly every day, and best of all, theyre totally free.

There are 19 museums and attractions that are part of the Smithsonian Institution, from the National Zoo in northern Washington D.C. to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan. Most of them, though, are centered on D.C.s National Mall, with the Washington Monument at one end and the U.S. Capitol at the other.

You could spend an entire week exploring the museums – but since youve got a lot to see in the nations capital, youre probably going to have to make some tough choices about what you can fit in and what you cant. Heres a one-day, must-see guide to the Smithsonian museums.

The Hall of Fossils in the Natural History Museum

There are very few places in this world where you can touch actual dinosaur bones, but Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History is one of them. In addition to the massive dinosaur skeletons on display in the Hall of Fossils, which are made almost totally of real dinosaur bones, there are interactive exhibits where you can actually touch the humerus of a real brachiosaurus, or a cast of a vertebra of Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Lincoln’s Top Hat at the American History Museum

Ruby Slippers at the American History Museum

Sports memorabilia at the African American Museum

Air and Space Museum

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Museums Farther Than The Eye Can See

Smithsonians collection of knowledge centers serve as a treasure chest for visitors. The aforementioned Air and Space Museum and Natural History Museum are definitely fan favorites. TheAmerican History Museum, with its endless array of Americana , takes a comprehensive look at our countrys history, and the National Zoo, which features hundreds of species and the cutest panda cub around, Bei Bei, also draw millions each year.

But with the whole Smithsonian lineup at your disposal, we recommend that you also dig deeper in the District. Witness the wonders of Asian art at the Freer | Sackler Galleries. Marvel at cutting-edge exhibits and Instagrammable architecture at them Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and have your mind blown by the crafty wizardry seen in the art at the Renwick Gallery, located steps from the White House.

Take in centuries of artistic achievement at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and spend a lull or lunch at the architecturally riveting Kogod Courtyard. You wont have to travel far to see the most complete collection of presidential portraits, because the building is also home to the National Portrait Gallery. Each president is immortalized in the Americas Presidents exhibit, and the works come from artists named Rockwell, De Kooning and Close. Worldly art lovers will want to check out the African Art Museum, which showcases traditional and contemporary art from the continent, as well as a collection of more than 500 African relics.

Bus Unloading & Loading

There are designated bus pick-up and drop-off locations all around Washington D.C., and the ones you need for visiting The National Mall and Smithsonian Museums are all free. The National Gallery of Art has four zones at 400 block Madison Drive, NW the Natural History Museum has four zones at 900 block Madison Drive, NW and the American History Museum has two zones at 1200 block Constitution Ave, NW.

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