Washington, DC, is the nation’s capital and absolutely the pinnacle of American historical past. If it has occurred, you may guess that there’s an ode to it in Washington, DC, and this fixation and centrality inside American historical past is what offers town its implausible museums. Washington, DC, has among the most visited museums in the US.
Along with your cultural cravings prepared and ready, choices just like the Spy Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Smithsonian’s Pure Historical past Museum assure you a implausible museum itinerary.
Prime Museums in Washington DC
This information has compiled all the most effective of Washington DC’s museums into one extra-convenient record. Get a style of Washington’s infamous museum scene with these high 10 museums in Washington, DC.
1. Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past
The Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past is likely one of the most visited museums in Washington, DC. It’s the solely nationwide museum devoted to documenting the African American expertise in the US, and if you’re prepared for highly effective displays and greater than 40,000 artifacts, that is the museum to spend a morning at. The museum founder is Lonnie G. Bunch III – an esteemed historian and the primary ever African American to function head of the Smithsonian Establishment.
Lonnie has pioneered an absolute icon within the Washington museum scene. Guests can study the whole lot from the civil rights motion to the proficient artists all through the ages on the museum’s separate African artwork museum. There are even short-term displays like Afrofuturism – an inventive envisioning of ‘liberated futures for Black life’ – to flick thru.
The Museum of African American Historical past is true in the midst of Washington, DC, the right addition to a busy day of sightseeing. Logistically it is smart to squeeze this museum onto your itinerary. Since it’s free to enter, it’s mild on the finances, too – win-win.
2. Nationwide Constructing Museum
Opening instances: 10 am till 4 pm Thursday till Monday Price: $10 per grownup
The Nationwide Constructing Museum would possibly sound like a randomly themed museum. Nonetheless, it is likely one of the most fascinating choices in Washington, DC. Draw your thoughts away from Bob the Builder-style scenes and as a substitute envision a Corinthian-columned constructing with an enormous grand corridor.
Would you actually count on something much less from a museum devoted to structure, engineering, and design? The Constructing Museum is beautiful. Guests wander by rooms upon rooms of distinctive scenes – from the Harry Potter-style grand corridor to a room of (barely bizarre-looking) blue spikes.
The museum curiously shows that we spend ‘near 90% of our lives inside’, presenting the concept that we must always pay extra consideration to inside design and its influence on our well-being. Positioned only a brief stroll from the nation’s capital, the museum is probably the most enjoyable place to query and discover the human relationship with design.
3. Worldwide Spy Museum
Opening instances: 9 am till 7 pm Monday to Thursday, 9 am till 8 pm Friday to Sunday Price: $26
Okay, it doesn’t get a lot cooler than an Worldwide Spy Museum. The spy museum is a fascinating haven for all issues spy-related, be its interactive displays, artifacts like previous spy gadgets, and a few fascinating tales. Whereas it’s family-friendly, the Worldwide Spy Museum caters to folks throughout the board.
And regardless of its barely steeper entrance costs, it stays top-of-the-line museums to go to in Washington, DC. Its interactive promise is fulfilled with codes and challenges to crack all through your expertise. Whilst you additionally get insights into previous spies, with American historical past, worldwide tales, and spy figures.
The Spy Museum is positioned close to the Smithsonian Establishment’s assortment of museums, together with the Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past and the Nationwide Air and House Museum of the Smithsonian Establishment. It’s a implausible attraction to mix with one among these museums, and additionally it is scenically positioned close by the Washington Channel – excellent for river views.
4. Smithsonian Nationwide Air and House Museum
Smithsonian Nationwide Air and House Museum is dreamy. Your entire venue is flight-themed, and also you stroll beneath suspended planes and early flight contraptions. The completely different displays create an satisfying feeling of sensory overload, with one thing on show in any respect ranges and areas.
There are round 8 rooms, and the entire expertise at Smithsonian Nationwide Air and House Museum takes not less than just a few hours. The museum paperwork the whole lot from the Apollo missions to the early planes and even a solitary tardis to enterprise into fictional flight historical past. This spot is likely one of the high museums in Washington, DC – a private advice and sensible attraction on your pockets. It is usually one of many iconic Smithsonian museums.
This museum is positioned throughout the neighborhood of most different Smithsonian museums. It’s accessible by way of public transport and simply slotted into your Washington, DC, itinerary. Preserve this as one among your finest choices for anybody wanting an perception into area and flight historical past.
5. Nationwide Mall
Opening instances: 24/7 Price: Free
This free museum is likely one of the most original choices on this information. Fairly than being a standard constructing with drab banners and measly displays right here and there, the Nationwide Mall covers over 300 acres of monuments and American historical past. The completely different monuments and landmarks are linked by a community of mountain climbing trails. If you are able to do one factor in Washington DC, we propose you cease by Nationwide Mall to sightsee. In reality, the Nationwide Mall has among the better of Washington DC’s monuments and landmarks.
The park has over 100 monuments and memorials. It’s a image of not solely the guts of Washington, DC but additionally the US. You’ll be able to go to the Washington Monument, Martin Luther King JR Memorial, and the dramatic waterfront Lincoln Memorial. It’s a whole dream to go to with a digicam.
And when you like historical past and aesthetic locations, you’ll be in for an actual deal with with this mix. The Nationwide Mall additionally allows you to see so much in a short while, as it’s house to most of the main landmark points of interest in Washington, DC.
6. Nationwide Gallery of Artwork
Washington, DC, does artwork galleries, and it does them effectively. When you fancy looking up to date artwork displays, then the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork is your alternative by default. The Nationwide Gallery of Artwork is house to fashionable and up to date artwork in varied codecs – from an exquisite sculpture backyard to elegant wood-paneled corridors of gold-framed portrait after portrait. In case you are an artwork fanatic, that is the kind of place the place desires are manufactured from. The Nationwide Gallery of Artwork is elegant to its core, with columns, atriums, domed ceilings, and elongated hall after hall. You may simply spend hours right here. The entire place is a chunk of artwork in itself.
Fairly than that eclectic fashionable artwork museum inside, the Nationwide Gallery of Artwork is tremendous luxurious and extra of a timeless, basic museum. Preserve this in thoughts when selecting between Washington DC’s artwork galleries.
7. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Holocaust is likely one of the saddest historic occasions of our time, and to pay your respects whereas studying extra, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is a sobering place to go to. America Holocaust Museum opens 7 days per week and provides free timed entry slots staggered from 10 am till 5:30 pm. The museum is a not-for-profit and residing memorial to the occasions of the Holocaust and people who skilled it.
The primary exhibition spreads over three flooring and comprises eyewitness testimonies, historic artifacts, movie, and images. If you wish to know extra about Holocaust, plan to spend a few hours on this part, because it particulars the whole lot from the rise of the Nazi occasion to the liberation of the camps in 1945.
There are then additional exhibitions on completely different flooring – together with one devoted to the ‘Individuals and the Holocaust’ and another perception into genocide with an exhibition on ‘Burma’s Path to Genocide’. Most hauntingly, there are two exhibitions, one devoted to the youngsters of the Holocaust and one referred to as ‘One Thousand and Seventy-eight Blue Skies’ – a photographic exhibition with particular person photographs of the skies above each focus camp in Europe.
America Holocaust Museum is a strong and necessary museum to go to. It’s positioned only a brief stroll from the Washington Monument and ideally mixed with a go to to the Nationwide Mall.
8. Hirshhorn Museum
Opening instances: 10 am till 5:30 pm Price: Free
Hirshhorn Museum is an absolute testomony to the fascinating phenomenon of recent artwork. The museum is ready in a relatively bizarre-looking doughnut-shaped constructing – a direct nod to its outlandish, quirky persona if we ever did see one. Hirshhorn Museum has a continuing conveyor belt of nonstop exhibitions. In only a few months in 2023, displays are devoted to up to date Chinese language images and Baseera Khan. The identical goes for occasions, too, and you’ll at all times try the rammed exercise schedule after the exercise. These short-term occasions are nice for households wanting low-cost youngsters’ leisure. Whereas completely, Hirshhorn Museum has over 12,000 items of paintings to gawp at and analyze.
Hirshhorn Museum is ready throughout the little bubble of Smithsonian Establishment museums. It’s simple to entry by public transport or on foot. As we talked about, it’s the excellent place for household actions. Hirshhorn Museum attracts the extra outgoing, action-loving artwork lover. So if you wish to keep away from the elegant however barely stuffy grandeur of among the extra formal galleries in Washington DC, Hirshhorn Museum is your finest guess.
9. Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past
Once you consider pure historical past, what do you consider? In all probability David Attenborough and dinosaur fossils. Nicely, any longer, you may add the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past to that record. Each metropolis wants a pure historical past museum, and the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past is likely one of the finest museums in Washington, DC. It takes a specific caliber to be the capital’s pure historical past museum, so that you finest consider that this museum is the highest.
Guests can glimpse among the world’s rarest gems and stand up near not one however dozens of dinosaur skeletons and fossils. And in addition to all that, there are additionally stuffed animal species and different organic examples all through the museum. Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past is likely one of the most complete examples of pure historical past preservation in the US. We suggest paying a go to.
10. Nationwide Museum of Asian Artwork
Opening instances: 10 am till 5:30 pm Price: Free
This beautiful Asian artwork museum is definitely one among Washington DC’s high galleries, which, as you now know, is saying one thing. The museum is a implausible ode to Asian paintings from quite a few completely different nations. You’ll discover Center Jap, Korean, Indian, and Japanese artwork, to call just a few. There may be stunning Arabic calligraphy to admire, Indian sculptures and pottery work, and stylish Japanese silk works. There are over 46,000 works to admire and flooring and flooring of displays to absorb. The agency favourite room is the Peacock Room – so look ahead to that.
The Nationwide Museum offers a extra various perception into historic artwork than many fashionable artwork galleries in Washington, DC. In case you are an fanatic thinking about Asian artwork or simply wish to go to one of many specialist artwork museums, then the Nationwide Museum is a implausible choice. It’s in and amongst all of the Smithsonian museums, so that you’ll discover it simple to squeeze into your sightseeing.
11. Smithsonian American Artwork Museum
The Smithsonian American Artwork Museum is likely one of the high museums in Washington, DC. So far as Smithsonian museums go, American artwork is likely one of the most particular however least uncommon museum classes. For any artwork fanatic, having such an in depth assortment of 1 kind of artwork in a single place is helpful.
And the Smithsonian American Artwork Museum prides itself on being one among its largest, most inclusive collections worldwide. The paintings dates again to the colonial interval, however you’ll additionally see just a few items from immediately. You’ll be able to tour independently or benefit from a complimentary strolling tour that’s run every day.
Kogod Courtyard is an architectural function of the museum itself that guests love – a considerable glass-enclosed courtyard with tropical vegetation and tons of pure lighting. It’s value noting that the Smithsonian American Artwork Museum can be located within the third-oldest federal constructing in Washington, DC. And as soon as you might be finished, you may simply mix it with a visit subsequent door to the Nationwide Portrait Gallery.
12. Museum of the Bible
The Museum of the Bible is likely one of the most spiritual Washington DC museums, if not probably the most spiritual Washington DC museum. It has an entire assortment of extremely prized sacred relics and displays, together with historic scrolls and ‘uncommon Bibles’. The constructing is superbly designed with stained glass home windows and church-like decor all through, and since it’s cut up throughout six flooring, you’ve got a great deal of sights to get by. It isn’t simply traditionally helpful with its displays; there are immersive alternatives within the Museum of the Bible. You may catch an Outdated or New Testomony present and take a look at sculpture scenes just like the Jesus Nazareth scene.
The museum pioneers and funds large quantities of analysis. Its museum shows cowl over 4,000 years of historical past, and due to this, it’s a actually lively level of analysis. It’s value checking in to see what talks and occasions can be found, because the museum attracts some actual trade consultants.
13. Planet Phrase
Opening instances: 10 am till 5 pm Wednesday to Friday, then 10 am till 6 pm Saturday to Monday, and closed Tuesday. Price: Urged donation of $10-15
Planet Phrase is a whole museum dedicated to the spoken phrase. The museum circles across the ideas of language and phrases, with the whole lot from karaoke to Scrabble. As guests, you bask in visiting exhibit corridor after corridor of word-themed points of interest – from phrase bushes outside to elegant libraries inside.
There are interactive actions, like a recording studio and a room educating you learn how to create advert copy. Planet Phrase is unimaginable for anybody with youngsters or younger adults thinking about a writing, journalistic, and musical profession. It’s someplace to enterprise for an hour or two for some thought-provoking leisure.
The museum is located in a Nineteenth-century constructing with Victorian-style structure and is definitely set within the historic Franklin Faculty. The Franklin Faculty has Nationwide Historic Landmark standing as a result of it was the primary public training college in the US as an impartial nation. So it’s becoming to see that its legacy has continued with Planet Phrase – a museum dedicated to studying and language.
14. White Home
Opening instances: 7:30 am till 4 pm Price: Free
Do you know that the White Home is definitely a completely functioning museum? With capped numbers and restricted hours, after all. This iconic museum boasts a few of American historical past’s most well-known scenes. And when you submit your tour requests with loads of warning- which is at least 21 days and as much as three months upfront – then you may spend just a few hours treading the identical carpets because the Obamas and Trumps. You can even cease by the White Home Customer Heart, which has over 90 completely different White Home artifacts and a 14-minute movie. There are lots of interactive displays, archives, and even a museum store on the finish so that you can splurge in.
Visiting the White Home from the surface is thrilling sufficient. Simply peering by the gates is a bucket record attraction for a lot of. Nevertheless, touring the within and having the White Home museum expertise takes the cookie. We’d suggest this wholeheartedly to anybody with a die-hard curiosity in American historical past and politics.
15. Smithsonian’s Nationwide Postal Museum
Opening instances: 10 am till 5:30 pm Price: Free
Smithsonian’s Nationwide Postal Museum is likely one of the most uncommon museums in Washington D.C. Imagine it or not, the postal story in the US is definitely fascinating. The method started with the Pony Specific, a brigade of horseback riders who ran America’s postal system for round 18 months. It’s famed for being a monetary shambles, however the entire thing makes an amazing story. Then after that, the primary transcontinental telegraph system halted the service in 1861, and commonplace mail service started as we all know it.
The Nationwide Postal Museum is one other Smithsonian museum on your record – located in that acquainted bubble of Smithsonian Establishment museums. The museum paperwork the whole lot from the creation of postal stationery to the early automobiles that used to ship mail. The museum tells a implausible story of each facet of American postal historical past and provides a high-quality assortment of memorabilia. There’s even a Nineteen Twenties-style submit workplace the place you may choose up free stamps to begin your stamp-collecting pastime.
The Smithsonian’s Nationwide Postal Museum is positioned within the East Finish, comparatively centrally in Washington, DC. It’s effectively mixed with a go to to the US Capitol and DC Hearth and EMS Museum (which is our ‘honorable point out’ since we couldn’t squeeze it onto this record).
16. Nationwide Archives Museum
Let’s end with a bang; Nationwide Archives Museum has among the most traditionally vital artifacts in the US. The esteemed museum’s assortment contains the unique Declaration of Independence, Structure, and Invoice of Rights. In case you are visiting Washington DC, you might be undoubtedly aware of and even planning your journey round embracing American historical past, so don’t miss this pivotal spot. The Nationwide Archives Museum is the place to stand up shut and private with early American historical past.
Other than the founding paperwork of the US (how cool is that to say?), the Nationwide Archives Museum additionally has a collection of smaller displays. These embrace an space devoted to the Suffrage Motion and stuffed with civil rights letters and petitioning. The Nationwide Archives Museum is a superb place to get a bitesize however intense introduction to American Historical past and Washington DC’s expertise.
Enjoyable Museums in Washington DC
Which of those finest museums in Washington, DC, do you suppose most closely fits you and your itinerary? Washington, DC, actually comes into its personal with artwork galleries and historical past museums, however the selection is countless. In spite of everything, who’d have thought you would go to the Nationwide Constructing Museum, Museum of the Bible, Worldwide Spy Museum, and the White Home multi function metropolis?
Try presidential portraits, European and American artwork, dinosaur fossils, and extra. Have an exquisite time museum buying in top-of-the-line locations for displays on the planet.