Collectively called the Smithsonian Institution, this world renowned museum complex in the District consists of 17 museums, galleries, and a zoo. And it’s free!
From the origins of man at the Natural History Museum to the future of space travel at the Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution are a guide to the most fascinating aspects of our world.
Our sightseeing time was cut down to 4 days due to rain, but we still managed to visit 4 museums, including the Natural History, American History, National Archives, and the Holocaust Memorial. You could spend days in each of them. Some require a timed ticket due to their popularity. The newest National Museum of African American History & Culture was booked out until August.
Jeff and I were most impressed with the Holocaust Museum. It’s still difficult to believe that Americans had access to reliable information about the Nazi regime’s persecution of Jews as it happened, but most could not imagine a mass murder campaign was possible. Though most sympathized with their plight, assisting and recusing the victims never became a national priority.
Visitors to the museum’s Permanent Exhibition receive ID cards chronicling the experiences of people who lived in Europe during the Holocaust. The cards personalize the events of the time, providing a biographical sketch of the person, their personal experiences and events, and finally the fate of the individual, whether they died or survived.
One of the traveling exhibits this summer was Remember the Children: Daniels Story. It represents the experiences of many Jewish children during the Nazi era, Daniel narrates through his diary the history of the Holocaust in ways that children can understand. The exhibit portrays life in a middle-class German home, in a Jewish ghetto in occupied Poland, and finally at the Auschwitz concentration camp. We all were in tears.
The world’s largest Natural History Museum’s highlights include the 45.5 carat Hope Diamond, Ocean Hall, Mammals Hall, Hall of Human Origins, Insect Zoo, dinosaurs, and the magnificent African bush elephant in the rotunda. Rick loved the dinosaurs!
We wish we would have had more time, other museums recommended to us were the Newseum and the International Spy Museum. They do have an admission fee, but have been told it’s worth it.
One rainy day cleared up by early evening, so we were able to take advantage of the Night Bus Tour that leaves from the campground. The tour guide was very informative and funny.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to our nation’s capital. We found all Washingtonians, from the bus drivers, tour guides, to staff at the museums very friendly and helpful. They truly love their city and are eager to show it off.
Everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. We can’t wait to return.
Next stop….Delaware Seashore State Park, Rehoboth DE