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Washington Museums

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide to Museums in Washington, Washington DC.
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The Phillips Museum is a publicly supported museum of modern art. Phillips include works of art by Cezanne, Bonnard, Braque, Daumier, Dove, El Greco, Manet, Matisse, O'Keefe, and Picasso. Also featuring Classical music programs, gallery talks and cash bars.
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The National Archives is a must-see attraction for historians in Washington, DC, as it houses important government documents like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and more than three billion records. Visitors enjoy perusing the changing exhibits and group tours are available by appointment. The National Archives are open daily from 10am to 5:30pm, except on Christmas. Extended hours are in effect during the summer.
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The museum of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution features 31 period rooms with a large collection of pre-1840s furnishings, as well as two galleries with changing exhibits. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 4pm and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free. The DAR Library is open to the public for a small fee and is the premier genealogical library in the nation.
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The International Spy Museum is dedicated to spy-related artifacts. The 600 plus artifacts include interactive exhibits of disguise and surveillance. Visitors can view hundreds of spy gadgets, weapons, bugs and cameras.
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Located in the heart of Georgetown, the 200-year-old Tudor Place houses the largest public collection of George and Martha Washington objects outside of the Founder Father's home. The home also features a beautiful 5.5-acres (2.2-ha) garden. Tours led by docents are offered, as well as self-guided garden tours.
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Situated in Frederick Douglass' first Washington DC home, this museum features a hall of fame memorial with biographies and portraits of extraordinary individuals who have been selected to receive a National Caring Award.
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The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation’s first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection captures the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people throughout three centuries. The museum’s historic Greek Revival building in the heart of Washington’s new downtown cultural district has been meticulously renovated with expanded permanent collection galleries and innovative new public spaces.
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Known as the site of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Ford's Theatre hosts a wide range of musicals, plays and other live theater events throughout the year. The theater also houses a museum.
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Learn of African American contributions to medicine, health care and research.
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The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution is home to the world's largest collection of historic air and spacecraft. The museum's numerous galleries include important topics such as rocketry, lunar exploration and military aircraft.
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The Textile Museum features rotating exhibitions of historical and contemporary textiles, as well as a Textile Learning Center that explores textile techniques, makers and their cultures. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Tours are offered September through May every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30pm, and the first Wednesday of the month at 1:00pm. No reservations required.
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DC goes interactive with the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Explore the history of crime, law enforcement, forensic science, crime scene investigation (CSI) and the consequences of committing a crime.
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This Smithsonian Institution museum features portraits of famous Americans, including presidents, colonial figures and important people from the American Revolution. Temporary exhibitions visit the museum, but there are ample permanent portraits to spend many hours at the National Portrait Gallery.
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The Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum aims to preserve, chronicle and present the story of the local Jewish community through archival collections, exhibits, educational programs and the restoration of the oldest synagogue building in Washington, DC. Built in 1876, this museum is located right in the synagogue.
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Commemorating the involvement of over 208,000 African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War, this museum and memorial is located in the Shaw section of the District. A Spirit of Freedom sculpture is surrounded by the Wall of Honor and the museum features photographs, newspaper articles, replicas of period clothing and an 1834 bill of sale for a young girl in Wilcox County, Alabama. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.
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The Decatur House is one of the oldest surviving homes in Washington, DC and one of the only three remaining residential buildings in the United States designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the father of American architecture. Built in 1818, this museum is just steps from the White House and offers a glimpse into nearly 200 years of Washington history. The museum is open daily.
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The Corcoran Gallery of Art features changing exhibits of American art, European art, contemporary art and photography in its grand exhibition galleries. Holding the distinction of being one of the oldest museums in the United States, this gallery also boasts a stunning location across from the White House.
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Marble walls in Judiciary Square honor all of America's federal, state and local law enforcers. Inscribed on the walls are names of more than 17,000 officers killed in the line of duty. New names are added every May during National Police Week. A museum is currently being constructed that will house a collection of the nation's most significant law enforcement artifacts. A major emphasis will be on educating visitors about the essential role that law enforcement plays in a free society.
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The Black Fashion Museum searches, collects and displays clothing and memorabilia that commemorate African American influence on the fashion industry in the past, present and future. Open to visitors by appointment only.
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The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry features a library and museum that houses the Burl Ives Collection, the Hall of Scottish Regalia, the Cornerstone Hall of Freedom, the Albert Pike Museum, the Architects Hall of Honor, the Americanism Museum and the International Collection, as well as many other exhibits. This is the national headquarters of America's largest fraternal organization.
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The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world that is dedicated solely to recognizing the contributions of female artists on society. Featured artists include Cassatt, O'Keeffe, Kahlo and Nevelson.
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The Renwick Gallery features a permanent collection of American crafts, as well as visiting exhibitions. The museum is situated in a historic building near the White House and is dedicated to showcasing the finest American crafts from the 19th century to the present. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5:30pm, except on Christmas Day.
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Due to increased security at the Washington Navy Yard, the Museum's hours have changed. Tour groups and individuals who do not have military or Department of Defense identification and want to visit the Museum should call in advance for an appointment. The U.S. Navy Museum features a collection that includes ship models, medals, uniforms, photographs, fine art and other Navy-related artifacts.
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Come on out to Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. where you can see, touch and take photos with some of your favorite celebrities and historical figures under one roof. Who do you want to meet?
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The National Building Museum explores achievements in architecture, design, urban planning, engineering and construction through exhibitions, educational programs and publications. Free admission.
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The American Immigration Law Center features an exhibit hall that educates visitors on America's immigrant heritage. Rotating exhibits are featured year-round. The museum is located in a historic landmark building known as the National Union Building, which has been restored to its original 1890s splendor.
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The National Museum of Natural History is part of the Smithsonian Institution and features exhibits that focus on human cultures and natural history. Some of the museum's most interesting items include dinosaur fossils, the 45.5 carat Hope Diamond, a life-size model of a blue whale and a replication of a tropical coral reef.
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The National Museum of African Art is part of the Smithsonian Institution and houses the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, specializing in African art and consisting of 300,000 photographic prints and transparencies. The museum collection contains African objects including masks, sculptures, ceramics, tools, and art from historical to contemporary times.
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Featuring two collections of Asian art, as well as works by 19th- and 20th-Century American artists, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are open daily from 10am to 5:30pm, except on Christmas Day. Extended summer hours are determined annually.
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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum documents the history of the Second World War, specifically the history of the millions of Jews and other minorities that were affected during this period. The museum contains several exhibitions filled with artifacts, photographs and films and is open daily from 10am to 5:30pm, except Yom Kippur and Christmas Day.
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The National Museum of the American Indian is part of the Smithsonian Institution and aims to preserve, study and exhibit the culture and history of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Changing exhibits, films, artifacts and educational programs are among the attractions of this museum. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5:30pm.
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The Newseum is the only interactive museum of news that takes visitors behind the scenes to find out how and why news is made. Visitors can act as reporters or newscasters, and relive the great news stories of all time through multimedia exhibits and memorabilia.
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The National Museum of American History collects all kinds of artifacts to help depict the diverse and interesting story of American history. Collection subjects include agriculture, engineering, food, government, religion, natural resources and clothing.
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Featuring an outdoor memorial to the United States Navy, as well as a Naval Heritage Center that honors the men and women of the U.S. Navy, this popular site also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
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The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 with funds left to the United States by James Smithson. Today it houses more than 140 million artifacts and specimens that are held within the Smithsonian Institution's museums. Areas of interest range from African American History and Asian Art to Natural History and animals. Known as the Castle, the Information Center houses the crypt of James Smithson, as well as an orientation theater, scale models of Washington's monumental core and interactive touch-screen programs in several languages.
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Changing exhibits.
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The Dumbarton House was built in 1800 and is a fine example of Federal-period architecture. The museum houses 18th- and 19th-century furniture and decorative arts.
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Featuring an exciting collection of airmail planes, mail trucks, stagecoaches, rare stamps, letters, a Pony Express exhibit and so much more, the National Postasl Museum is an ideal place to visit when in Washington DC. This museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is open daily from 10am to 5:30pm, except Christmas Day. Admission is free and group tours are available by appointment.
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Part of the Smithsonian Collection, the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden features a collection of modern and contemporary art in the indoor museum and outdoor garden. Open daily from 10am to 5:30pm, except on Christmas Day. During the summer hours are extended. Tours of the collection and the changing exhibits are given daily. There is no admission charge.
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Part of the Smithsonian Institution, The Anacostia Community Museum depicts African American history and culture through a variety of exhibits, including video presentations, artifacts and more. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, except on Christmas Day.
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The National Children's Museum is an exciting and fun destination for children of all ages. The National Children’s Museum aims to inspire children to care about and improve the world through interactive play and learning. The National Children's Museum is located at National Harbor in Prince George's County, Maryland, just a short drive from downtown Washington, D.C. and its surrounding suburbs.
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The Woodrow Wilson House is Washington, DC's only presidential museum and is situated in the former home of President Woodrow Wilson and Edith Wilson following their White House years. The museum features the original furnishings, presidential memorabilia and changing special exhibits.
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Featuring the impressive art collection of Carmen and David Kreeger, this museum includes works by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Miro and Kandinsky. Reservations are required on weekends. Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Friday at 10:30am and 1:30pm. Reservations are not required on Saturdays.
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The National Museum of Health & Medicine dates back originally to the Civil War. The present Museum was established in 1989 and allows visitors to touch a real brain or stomach, to view the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln, to check out the evolution of the microscope, and experience the Civil War through the eyes of its surgeons.
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The Hillwood Museum & Gardens contain 18th- and 19th-century Russian Imperial art, including works by Faberge and decorative arts by French artisans. The 25-acre estate features an extensive display of azaleas and orchids and a Japanese-style garden. Reservations required.
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Located at National Geographic's Washington, DC headquarters, this museum features an impressive display of permanent and visiting interactive exhibits that depict the diversity of the world.
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the National Gallery of Art features an impressive permanent collection of American and European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. Visiting exhibitions of art from around the world are also featured.
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The Marian Koshland Science Museum allows visitors to take a look at modern scientific research, witness the potential effects of global warming and explore how DNA analysis can catch criminals and stop epidemics. Permanent and visiting exhibits please visitors of all ages.
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Through state-of-the-art technology, art exhibits from the Vatican Museums, and cultural programs, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center provides visitors of all ages and denominations an opportunity to explore various faiths and cultures. The center is open Tuesday - Saturday (and holiday Mondays) 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday noon - 5 p.m.
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The Corcoran is committed to making the historic art in its collections and the emerging art of our time accessible and understandable to the broadest possible audience through innovative exhibitions and educational programming, systematic research and rigorous scholarship.
BulletThe Octagon Museum
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The Octagon was designed by the first architect of the US Capitol, William Thornton. This museum is recognized as the oldest museum in the United States devoted to architecture and design. Lectures, exhibits, tours and programs are available for children and adults.
BulletWhite House Visitor Center
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Visitors learn all about the White House at this interpretive center and museum. Exhibits and videos depict the history of the White House, past presidents, the architecture, the furnishings and other interesting facts.

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