Washington, DC Museums You Can Enjoy from Home

by Tykesha77

Washington, DC Tidal Basin

Washington, DC is home to some of the country’s most iconic memorials and world-class museums which is why it was at the top of my list of 20 Places to Visit in 2020. While states across the country are starting to reopen, many of the world-famous attractions in our Nation’s Capital, remain shuttered due to COVID-19.

If you still want to visit DC to explore space, learn about the history of African Americans, or discover famous women through history, I have some great news for you.  You still can, virtually.

You can plan a Washington, DC museum day from the comfort of your home.

National Museum of African American History & Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture Courtesy: bakdc/Shutterstock.com

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is one of the many Smithsonian Institute museums located in Washington, DC.  Nearly 5 million people have visited the NMAAHC since it opened in September of 2016, which makes it one of the most popular museums in DC.  So, now is a great time to check out the museum virtually.

There are a number of exhibits available for viewing on the museum’s website.  There’s also a Learning Lab which offers a few experiments and visual arts collections that could be a great addition to your distance learning curriculum.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Courtesy: Smithsonian National Zoo (nationalzoo.si.edu)

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in America. It features pandas, lions, tigers, and several other animals native to the Americas.  The Zoo has a number of animal webcams that you and your family can enjoy.

Here are links to the most popular live cam animals:


National Air & Space Museum

National Air & Space Museum Courtesy: f11photo/Shutterstock.com

If you’re interested in all things aviation and spacecraft, you can explore the National Air & Space Museum virtually as well.  The Air & Space Museum is home to the Apollo 11 Command Module and Friendship 17 which was flown by John Glenn. These popular attractions make this the second most visited museum in the world.  Discover 3D images of some of the museum’s most popular attractions, and learn about space pioneers on the museum’s website. There’s also an entire section dedicated to Activities and Games. My kiddos have thoroughly enjoyed the Geography from Space activity. The website also has a number of STEM Resources that might be helpful.

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History Courtesy: Kamira/ Shutterstock.com

The National Museum of Natural History is one of my favorite museums in DC.  It’s the home of the Hall of Mammals, Insect Zoo, and Ocean Hall. The Natural History Museum has a host of exhibits that can be explored on their website.  The website also has a number of digital learning/teaching resources that can be found on their blog.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Courtesy: GiuseppeCrimeni/ Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is offering virtual field trips. Both parents and students can explore nine different exhibits: The Holocaust, the Hall of Witness, and Hall of Remembrance as well as a conservation lab where viewers can learn how museum staff works to preserve and present Holocaust history.

International Spy Museum

Aubrey really enjoyed the interactive exhibits at the International Spy Museum.

If you or your kiddos are interested in spy games and espionage, the International Spy Museum offers some free lesson plans and activities on their website. My family and I had a wonderful time when we visited the museum recently.  The International Spy Museum normally charges for entry but some of their exhibits are available for free right now.

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery Courtesy: Matt Smith/ Shutterstock.com

Presidents, poets, and activists have been immortalized on the canvases that are on display in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.  Some of the National Portrait Gallery’s most popular paintings, sculptures, and photos are now available virtually.  Here are some of the popular exhibits that can be accessed online:

Portraits of African Americans

First Ladies from the National Portrait Gallery

Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence

Did you try one of these? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below.

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