Other Tours / Museums / Libraries, Washington D.C.
This wonderful collection of modern art is in the former residence of its founder, Duncan Phillips. It was the first museum of modern art in America. It still retains the feel of the original home, with many little surprises to be found throughout. One of my favorite Kandinsky paintings “Succession” is hanging in a stairwell! There is a collection of Klees, Van Goghs, enormous Clifford Styll canvases, and the Impressionists, with the large Renoir “Luncheon of the Boating Party” the premier attraction.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10-5, Sundays 12-7
Free Tuesday through Friday, charge on weekends
The Smithonian opened it in 1990 using the former City Post Office building.
Postal museum may sounds boring, but with interactive games and videos in addition to the exhibits including stamps, mail boxes from around the world, and a stagecoach, this is a fun place for both kids and adults.
1st St. and Massachusetts Ave. NE.
Near the Union Station
This lovely statue is in front of the archives building and it graces one side. There is another on the other side of the entrance, but I didn't get a chance to photograph it.
Inscription: THE HERITAGE OF THE PAST IS THE SEED THAT BRINGS FORTH THE HARVEST OF THE FUTURE.
It is made of limestone granite and sculpted by James Earle Fraser
Located on Constitution Ave between 7th & 9th Sts NW
Nearest Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Yellow – Green)
The National Archives and Records Admin building houses the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and more than 3 billion records.
Open daily 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. except Christmas; extended summer hours.
Group tours by appointment
Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial
You have to go across the street from the War Veteran's Memorials to visit the National Academy of Sciences or see Albert Einstein sitting on the south lawn. In its left hand, the figure holds a paper with mathematical equations summarizing three of Einstein's most important scientific contributions.
I had to go there to see Albert. He's an honored symbol of the department I work in at M.I.T. And I just plain "like him"!
Terrific new exhibit of orchids and butterflys. What a feeling it is to walk among all those colorful creatures. They land on people...or close by...so you can really see them. It's a marvelous feeling....here is a pic on one large butterfly who landed on my red necklace and stayed for quite a while.
The FBI (as well as the U.S. Marshalls) is the closest thing there is to a national police force in the United States. A tour of their headquarters in the capital is a good experience to see how federal law enforecement works, whether it be busting fraud financial schemes, gangsters, or terrorists.
The FBI has been around for nearly 100 years, and has seen a lot of ups and downs throughout its history. It was made especially famous throughout the 1930s through '60s by its charasmatic, arch-conservative director, J. Edgar Hoover, who busted alleged communist sympathizers, mafia dons, civil rights leaders, while secretly at the same was a closeted homosexual and cross-dresser. Today, the headquarters building is now named after him, but Left-leaning lawmakers on Capitol Hill, aware of Hoover's infamous totalitarian-like tactics, would like to change its name to the Robert F. Kennedy building, the late Attorney General and civil rights advocate. Lawmakers continue to squandor over this controversial name change.
Although you won't see Scully and Moulder hard at work at the FBI, you will get the chance to see crime labs, phone operators, crime files, and confiscated items from some of America's most infamous criminals, all of which are available for the public to tour.
Visiting the FBI is a chance to see law enforcement at work. Free tours are offered throughout weekdays. FBI Headquarters is located not too far away from Ford's Theatre; the building is easily recognizable by its numerous variations of the American flag throughout 230 years around its entrance.
FBI Headquarters, sadly, is presently closed due to renovations since August, 2002. It will open shortly.
This little museum is part of the Smithsonian complex on "the mall" but doesn't get all the must-see attention that is paid to the biggies. (like the Air & Space, Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art, etc.). There was an exhibit in Spring 2003 focusing on "Nature's Jewels" -- a wonderful display of orchids, AND a butterfly exhibit: A self-enclosed area where tropical butterflies are hatched and released. Wear bright colors and you'll feel like a Disney character with butterflies landing on your shoulders, back, hands...it's quite magical! Check out my travelogue called "Nature's Jewels" for more pictures from this exhibit.
The museum houses continuously changing exhibits, so be sure to drop by while strolling the mall, and you will be charmed by something else quite extraordinary!
The National Building Museum is located at 401F Street NW between 4th and 5th Streets..at the Judiciary Square Metro Station (Red Line Metro). This is the only institution uniquely dedicated to exploring the what, who, how, and why of American building. Founded in 1985, the Museum has presented exhibitions such as World WarII and the American Dream, How Wartime Building Changed a Nation, WeWill Be BAck: Oklahoma City Rebuilds, The New American Ghetto. Lectures, book signings, and Symposiums are part of the schedule...as well as Film Series and Concert Series. Admission is Free...like so many wonderful places in DC. Learn more from:
The National Firearms Museum traces the heritage of gun ownership and use in America from the first explorers to modern times. Thirteen galleries explore such time periods as the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, as well as the years between our nation's major conflicts. The museum contains guns own by Theodore Roosevelt, Annie Oakley, General George Gordon Meade, George Bush, Grover Cleveland, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Prince Charles and Napoleon Bonaparte. The museum goes beyond just guns used in wars, to include those sued for hunting, law enforcement, self defense and recreation. There are also various exhibits on temporary loan from other museums. Overall, the museum displays about 2,000 guns covering 600 years of US history. The museum also has a library for research purposes.
The museum is located at the National Rifle Association HQ at 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA, which is on I-66 just west of the city. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, and admission is free!
The "old" Air & Space Museum on the Mall is basically "full to the brim" with wonderful exhibits, but no room for expansion. So, the new Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum has been built out in the countryside near Dulles International Airport. It is absolutely outstanding and should not be missed. They have eating facilties and a nice gift shop there as well.
The Udvar-Hazy Center was opened on December 15, 2003 in Chantilly, Virginia. It will ultimately house some 400 aircraft and space artifacts - nearly 80% of the national collection.
Many people don't know that Washington has a National Aquarium. Sure, the one in Baltimore is bigger and fancier, but Washington's is just off the Mall in the basement of the Department of Commerce (located at 14th St. and Constitution Ave.).
National Archives: Though I feel like this should be included under things to do, I know only one or two people who have ever visited the National Archives. In the lobby you can view the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. There is also a copy of Britain's 1297 Magna Carta, the Louisiana Purchase agreement, and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The National Archives Building is located between Seventh and Ninth Streets, NW, with entrances on Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues. Admission is Free.
The National Archives Building is the headquarters of the National Archives and Records Administration and this building opened in 1935. NARA's second headquarters location is in Prince George's County, Maryland, near the University of Maryland in College Park. NARA has fourteen other regional facilities and ten Affiliated Archives across the US, as well as the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Finally, NARA maintains twelve of the Presidential Libraries for each president from Herbert Hoover to Bill Clinton.
It's quite a pity that such a beautiful building is overlooked so often (or maybe it's quite a blessing that it's been spared the tourista-crowds that mob the mall whenever it's somewhat pleasant out...) The Nation Building Museum's cavernous atrium features the largest Corinthian Columns in the world, and the 3-4 exhibits that it features are usually spectacular, if you're into architecture. Additionally, the NBM's museum shop is considered to be the best museum shop in DC. (National Archives, eat your heart out!)
Located directly across the street from the statue of Baron von Stueben in Lafayette Square is what looks like a very ordinary brick home . Actually, it is anything but ordinary. Originally it was built for naval hero Steven Decatur and is one of three remaining designed by Benjamin Latrobe.
Today it houses the Center for White House History and there is a small museum in there that is open to the public. I didn't go in since they were preparing for some big function but i suspect i might sooner or later pay a visit.
After Decatur, the house was occupied by Henry Clay and Martin Van Buren. It served as the de facto residence of the Secretary of State.
Location- 748 Jackson Place, N.W., on President's Park North (Lafayette Park)