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Washington DC Museums and Monuments

Updated on April 29, 2013
Dedicated in 1885, The Washington Monument is so named after the nation's first president, President Washington.
Dedicated in 1885, The Washington Monument is so named after the nation's first president, President Washington. | Source

When It Comes To Washington Monuments & Museums, Have A Plan

There are a fair amount of museums and monuments at the United States Capitol - Washington, D.C. The good news is that many of them are free. The bad news is that there is no way to see all of them - even if you do make a plan of attack when you visit the area. I am planning a trip to visit there now. I will be going just as the snows have melted but before the summer heat begins to smother tourists with sweltering heat: late April through early May.

Below is a directory I compiled from various sources to give a comprehensive list of attractions. Most are links to points of interest in the nation's capitol.

Lincoln Memorial, Dedicated in 1922.
Lincoln Memorial, Dedicated in 1922. | Source
Statue at the National Geographic Museum
Statue at the National Geographic Museum | Source

The Best Museums in Washington, D.C. To Visit

There are an extraordinary amount of museums in the District of Columbia. I mean, even if you had two weeks, you wouldn't be able to visit them all. So peruse this list and narrow down the ones that matter to you:

Marian Koshland Science Museum - Part of the National Academy of Sciences, the exhibits include emerging diseases, properties of the universe, etc.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum - Located in most major cities, these are wax replicas of celebrities and other famous personalities.

National Museum of Health and Medicine - Located on the campus of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. You will need identification for admission.

National Geographic Museum - Situated on the ground floor of its headquarters building, view photos and items from around the world.

National Building Museum - A museum about building buildings, including a Lego version of the Empire State Building to testing your own creations.

National Museum of Women the Arts - Achievements of women in the art world are highlighted.

Octagon House and Museum - Washington, DC - The oldest museum in the U.S. devoted to architecture stands here.

Folger Shakespeare Library - On Capitol Hill, the third largest collection of English books printed before 1641 is here. Visitors view theatrical performances, an Elizabethan garden, lectures on Shakespeare's life and works.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC - The name says it all.

The National Archives - Washington, DC - Here find the Bill of Rights, the Constitution of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence and more original documents.

National Gallery of Art - National Art Gallery in DC - See artistic masterpieces from the last several hundred years, including the works of Botticelli, Cezzane, Renoir, da Vinci.

Ford's Theatre Museum in Washington, DC--A Visitor's Guide to Ford's Theatre - Hey! Didn't the 16th President Get Shot Here?!

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC

The National Portrait Gallery - Features meaningful individual contributors to American society.

The National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington, DC - Devoted to the crime-fighting history through the centuries, including the evolution of crime-solving techniques.

The Library of Congress in Washington, DC

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and has a wealth of American published history.

The Newseum in Washington, DC - An interactive museum that covers the role of media and photography over the last 500 years.

Did I Mention The Spy Museum In Washington, D.C.?

The Monuments in Washington D.C.

If you've had your fill of museums, you can move on to the monuments... Don't forget your camera! Here's a list of the top five sites for the history buffs:

I should add, it would not be an overstatement to say that there are about 50 or so more minor or less famous historical sites in the area, all of which (as in the famous five listed in this short list) are run by NPS. See more information at this Washington D.C. link from the National Park Service. Last, but not least, if it's the White House you would like to visit, plan ahead by reading my article: Visiting and Touring The White House.

Planning To Visit Washington DC Requires Some Planning

Unless you are staying a month and extremely dedicated, you will only be able to see a handful of the items available to be seen. Be sure to match up your needs with what the venues offer and have fun!

Washington DC Area

Learn More About Washington, DC!

Click on one of these links to learn more about visiting the DC area:

Visiting & Touring the White House

Visiting Washington, DC - Free Programs at the National Theater

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    • Li Galo profile imageAUTHOR

      Li Galo 

      7 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

      Thanks for your feedback, RTalloni. It's definitely a wonderful thing to have so many free resources to enjoy.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for putting this resource on DC museums and monuments together for us!


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