Brimming with cultural riches and historic landmarks, Washington DC sees visitors from across the globe flock to explore its famous city streets. Thanks to its political heart and astonishing collection of world-class museums, the city is alive with stories and tales of America and her people. Here are five of the best museums in Washington DC.
Found inside the famous Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Natural History houses a wealth of historic treasures. In fact, the complex is considered the world’s largest natural history museum, with more than eight million visitors each year. Home to over 126 million specimens, you’ll be forgiven for getting lost as you roam the awe-inspiring halls. Highlights include Harry Winston’s magnificent Hope Diamond, the world’s largest faceted aquamarine gem – Dom Pedro Aquamarine, and the spectacular live butterfly pavilion. The museum even hosts sleepovers through the year for those keen to spend a night at the museum.
From the old to the new, the National Museum of American History tells a fascinating tale. From American presidents to machinery and automobiles, this unique collection of artifacts offers a glimpse into the heart of America. One of the most moving exhibits is the Star-Spangled Banner, where you can learn of the flag’s creation, history and preservation. You can see Julia Child’s kitchen on display as you explore the country’s food history and admire the gowns at the First Ladies exhibit. Many relics of inspiring singer Frank Sinatra are also on view, including photographs, sheet music, album covered and costume items.
Another unmissable attraction in Washington DC is the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. With 23 main exhibition galleries, you will find an impressive collection of air and space paraphernalia, including objects from the historic Apollo 11 mission. There is an abundance of actual aircraft that you can see, touch and even walk-through with plenty of interactive displays. See how far we’ve come as you admire the 1903 Wright Flyer, the world’s first successful airplane, through to the most modern space innovations. The museum also has an IMAX theatre, planetarium and heart pounding flight simulators.
Mount Vernon was once the plantation house of the first President of the United States, George Washington. Now, guests are invited to visit the beautiful grounds, gardens and museum that honour the President’s life and legacy. The 21-room mansion has been meticulously restored and features intricate architectural details and elegant furnishings. The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Centre traces Washington’s life through a series of displays and multi-media presentations.
One of the more unique museums in Washington DC, the Newseum is dedicated to all things news, media and journalism. Over seven levels, the museum tells a story unlike any other. You can browse countless galleries showcasing priceless artifacts, including historic front pages of newspapers and significant news broadcasts. Don’t miss the powerful 9/11 gallery which features the twisted wreckage of the broadcast antenna from the top of the World Trade Centre and the Pulitzer Prize photo gallery. You can also watch network news show taping in the studios – you never know who you might see!
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