10+ DC Museums & Historical Sites You Can Visit Virtually, No Timed Ticket Required
A continuing series about awesome social distance activities in DC to keep you entertained during the outbreak and inspired to keep daydreaming about your next adventure in the Nation's capital.
Miss spending time leisurely wandering DC's museums and historical sites? Well, you're in luck!
Even though their doors are closed, you can still explore them online through virtual tours and digital collections. Now is the time to binge all the culture you've dreamed of having enough time to consume.
We’ve compiled a list of 10+ museums and historical sites hat you can visit from your living room. Some you know and others may be less familiar, so make the most of being inside and explore at your leisure, and plan which landmarks and exhibits to visit when the doors open again.
1. National Gallery of Art
DC’s famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
2. National History Museum
Take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas. Plus, get access to research and and past exhibits no longer on display. Many of the tours provide a view of previously unseen archives or holdings.
3. Frederick Douglass Home
Visit Cedar House in Anacostia, home of Frederick Douglass, from your sofa. Select rooms to learn about the personal items in it, and the people who lived and visited there (Flash required). You can also visit the online collection and take a VR tour through Google.
4. Mount Vernon
Explore George Washington’s estate via a remarkable virtual tour that lets you navigate through house and grounds, and review items owned or related to the first president and his family. Plus there’s a single and multi-player game that lets you step into Washington’s boots and confront the challenges he faced during the Revolutionary War and as the first president of the US.
5. National Mall
Take a virtual reality “walk” along the National Mall and Tidal Basin, and stop at points of interest on your journey, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. Click on history notes and guides to learn more.
6. Architect of the Capitol
The AOC has been the nation’s builder and steward of many of the nation’s most iconic landmarks, including: the US Capitol, the House and Senate Office Buildings, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and the US Botanic Garden. This in-depth virtual tour takes you on a building-by-building tour to learn about the arts and architecture, history and behind-the-scenes of each one. It would be impossible to cover this much information on any tour, so get comfy and really explore!
Sadly the Newseum is no more, but their famous Front Page gallery lives on in their digital gallery. See how city’s across the US are reporting the outbreak and what else is making news.
8. Ford’s Theatre
Ford’s Theatre partnered with Google Arts and Culture to create a virtual tour of Ford's Theatre. See the view from the President's Box, where Abraham Lincoln was sitting the night of his assassination. Or stand on the historic stage, where John Wilkes Booth landed after he shot the president. In the Petersen House, look into the back bedroom where Lincoln died. Or see the front parlor where Mary Lincoln waited anxiously for news of her husband's condition.
9. National Museum of Women in the Arts
Delve into the rich collection of artwork showcased at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the only museum dedicated to women in the visual, literary and performing arts. Browse by media, artist, popularity, time or color. Click on an image to bring up background information about the artist and artwork.
10. National Museum of African American History and Culture
There’s no timed-entry ticket required to view the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s online exhibits and collections, which includes a look at black fashion and 856 items ranging from a ticket to Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral to the training robe worn by Muhammed Ali and a trumpet owned by Dizzy Gillespie.
11. President Lincoln’s Cottage
Located in the Petworth neighborhood of DC, President Lincoln’s cottage isn’t as well-known as his memorial on the National Mall. But it is here where he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and the only place the public can experience the history of Abraham Lincoln’s public and private life where he lived and worked for over a quarter of his presidency. The online collection includes the people and politics of the time that impacted his presidency.
12. The President Woodrow Wilson House
After serving as the twenty-eighth President of the United States, where he led the nation through World War I, won the Nobel Peace Prize and created the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson moved to S Street in 1921 to reflect on his career as educator, president and world statesman.
Even more museums and historical landmarks to visit virtually can be found here.
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