National Museum of American History

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National Museum of American History: Our most recommended tours and activities

Washington, DC: Old Town Trolley City Tour

1. Washington, DC: Old Town Trolley City Tour

Climb aboard the Old Town Trolley and enjoy a comprehensive tour of Washington. Listen to the colorful anecdotes, humorous stories, and well-researched historical information your guide has to share. Upgrade to include a tram tour of Arlington Cemetery. Sit back while expert tour guides help you discover the beauty and majesty of Washington, D.C. This popular tour covers Washington's major attractions such as the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.  The trolley will make one stop along the tour route at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. While off the trolley, you can visit the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. You will have 30 minutes to explore the area while your guide and the trolley wait for you. Please see below the list of attractions and memorials that you will see on the tour: • Washington Welcome Center • The White House • National Archives • National Law Enforcement Museum • Union Station • U.S. Capitol • Smithsonian Air & Space Museum • The Wharf • International Spy Museum • Holocaust Memorial Museum • Jefferson Memorial • FDR Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • National Museum of American History • Smithsonian Museum of Natural History • National Gallery of Art • National Portrait Gallery

National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

2. National Museum of American History: Guided Tour

From a ragtag group of colonists to one of the world’s super powers, the United States has made quite a name for itself. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History traces this ascent through a one-of-a-kind collection of items, helping you to understand this turbulent history. Your local English speaking guide will not only be an expert on the museum, but also share a mix of historical, scientific, cultural, social, technological, and political information, background stories and surprising details with you. Tour highlights: • The actual Star-Spangled Banner that inspired the country’s national anthem • Learn about the first president, George Washington, while viewing his sword • Discover how Hollywood has helped shape this country • Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” • Discuss segregation through the Greensboro lunch counter • View Thomas Jefferson’s desk • Understand the role of women through an exhibit of the first ladies’ gowns With the collection containing more than three million historical items, you’ll be thankful to your passionate and engaging guide for navigating you, bringing a personal touch to each tour, adding own favorite anecdotes and tips along the way.

Washington DC: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

3. Washington DC: Monuments Self-Guided Walking Tour

Visit the most iconic landmarks of America’s capital city on this flexible self-guided walking tour. See the White House, Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, and much more, and learn the revolutionary history behind the creation of Washington, D.C. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Along with being developed by local guides, creative writers, and professional voice artists, most stops along the tour have animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or interior rooms. You'll begin your adventure next to Pershing Park, right across from the White House south lawn. From there, make your way to the White House itself, where you can admire the seat of American power and learn some fascinating tidbits about its construction. From here, head south toward Constitution Gardens and pick up some insight into D.C.’s complicated history along the way. Through the gardens, you’ll find what was once the city’s most controversial monument: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Next, head to the Lincoln Memorial, one of the most iconic memorials in D.C. The Korean War Veterans Memorial is next, where you’ll hear about the fraught political struggle which wracked the White House during this bloody conflict. As you continue east, you’ll be filled in on the aftermath of the War of 1812 and how D.C. grew into what it is today. The next monument you’ll arrive at will be the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, honoring the nation’s most revered civil rights leader. Then, cross the Kutz Bridge and learn why the Potomac River is so significant to this city’s history. From this bridge, you’ll also be able to see the impressive Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Later, reach the National Mall, which you’ve definitely seen on TV plenty of times. Get an up-close look at the Washington Monument and learn the history of George Washington’s connection to this important city. If you like museums, the next stretch of the tour is absolutely for you. You’ll pass the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the National Gallery of Art. On the final leg of the tour, visit three of the most crucial buildings in the city: The Library of Congress, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court of the United States. The tour concludes amid these three awe-inspiring structures.

Washington DC: Private Tour of Two Smithsonian Museums

4. Washington DC: Private Tour of Two Smithsonian Museums

Walk through the halls of history with a guided tour of the Smithsonian museums in Baltimore. Explore the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History on this 3-hour private tour. Start your tour at the National Museum of American History. Here, admire artifacts that tell the story of America's political history, with an emphasis on American women's history and Latino American history. View national treasures including original pictures of survivors of the Titanic and the flag that flew during the Battle of Baltimore. Wander through the museum, learning about medical advancement, segregation, and the breakthroughs made by female mathematicians, artists, and artisans. Continue to the Museum of Natural History and explore the permanent exhibits of volcanic rock, rare gemstones, and dinosaurs. Marvel at the Hope Diamond, one of the most famous jewels in the world and see an intact T-Rex fossil among others. Watch a short film depicting the history of mammals and explore earth's many ecosystems, including the Sant Ocean Hall, and observe some of the smallest and largest animals in the oceans.

Washington D.C: Full Day Walking Tour with Private Guide

5. Washington D.C: Full Day Walking Tour with Private Guide

Explore the presidential city of Washington D.C on a private full-day walking tour. See the city's iconic landmarks such as the White House and the Washington Monument. Stop by the many memorials including the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. After your morning walking tour, catch a brief taxi ride to an area where your guide will recommend several spots for lunch (the price of lunch is not included). After lunch, join your guide for a tour of one of the Smithsonian Museums, where you will have the opportunity to see the original Star-Spangled Banner.

Other Sightseeing Options in National Museum of American History

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What people are saying about National Museum of American History

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 140 reviews

Our last day, we took the 3 hour tour, thinking it would be OK - it was fabulous! Just the right amount of walking, a bathroom with us, with a fantastic tour guide who was extremely knowledgeable and hilarious! Our only issue was trying to find the right tour bus, since so many take off from the same spot. Arrive more than 15 minutes early so you can find your bus! Our tour person at 10:30am April 16 was a lady around 5'4" so she held a neon orange baton in the air so we could find her in the crowds and it really was helpful. At the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, too many people to know where she was, but you could see that baton! She was also great with the many kids that were on the bus who at first was fussy and talking loud. She not only engaged them by having them participate in Q&A, she had them wanting to participate! I learned so much & had fun doing it! I hope next year we come back, we get the same guide and do the all day tour!

Tour went so fast! It was great to get a brief overview of the entire museum. I would have loitered too long and missed all sorts of areas if left on my own. This helped guide me and I was able to return to what interested me most when the tour ended. I do think this could be tough for young adults or teens unless they were very into history. With the entertainment area currently closed, it would be hard to keep kids attention the entire time. As for me, it went so fast. There is so much to see and 2.5 hours barely hits it, but it was so worth it. Well worth it!

Tour guide was very knowledgeable and professional. He was able to answer all questions. He also helped in explaining the right understanding for some of the memorials. We are enjoyed the tour and will book it again next time in DC. Lew

Our tour guide, Tony, was very knowledgeable and personable. We really enjoyed it. He had lots of interesting facts. He was quick to respond to questions and was easy to find.

Very well done. Navigation takes some getting used to at first, but then you find your way around. I would do it again and again!