Things to Do in Washington DC

From the Capitol to the Washington Monument to the White House, Washington, D.C. is filled with things to do. Attractions include the Smithsonian’s museums of American history, American art, natural history, American Indian, postal, air and space and Hirshhorn, as well as galleries – portrait, Freer, Sackler and Renwick, plus the zoo. For best access, take the metro from your hotel. Find time to squeeze in the Jefferson, Lincoln and veterans memorials, the National Archives, Ford’s Theatre, the Newseum, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, Union Station, the Corcoran, the National Cathedral and nearby Georgetown. Great restaurants abound.
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National Museum of American History

14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, District of Columbia
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is responsible for the collection, care and preservation of more than three million objects. The collections represent the nation's heritage in the areas of science, technology, sociology and culture from colonial times to the present. The collections include first ladies gowns, a Samuel Morse telegraph, locomotives, tools, an Alexander Graham Bell telephone, flags, American-made quilts, Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves, Duke Ellington's sheet music and TV puppet star Howdy Doody.

Visitors enter the museum to see the atrium with a grand staircase that connects the first and second floors. Extensive 10-foot-high "artifact walls" on both the first and second floors showcase the breadth of the museum's three million objects. A welcome center on the second floor assists orienting visitors to the museum.

On the first floor, find the exhibition gallery for Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

An abstract flag, approximately 40-feet long and up to 19-feet high soars above the entrance to the Star-Spangled Banner gallery, the central focal point of the second floor. Visitors can experience the 30-by-34-foot wool and cotton flag through floor-to-ceiling glass windows designed to evoke the "dawn's early light" in which Francis Scott Key saw the flag, still flying above Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor in 1814, inspiring him to write the national anthem.

The Hands on History Room allows children to touch, examine and use objects historic reproductions.

Security: security checkpoint, similar to airports. No backpacks, tripods or bag lunches.
Hours & Admission
Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free.
On the National Mall, near the Washington Monument.
Subway: on Metro's orange and blue lines; exit Federal Triangle and Smithsonian.
Photo ©Flying Compass
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