Each year millions of people visit our nation’s capital, Washington DC. Many of America’s students are included in this large visiting population. Our nation’s capital city holds a wealth of free learning opportunities for America’s students. Without charge, students can visit governmental headquarters, visit numerous monuments and memorials, visit museums, and attend cultural performances.
In Washington DC, students can tour the headquarters of the three branches of American government, without charge. Although some advanced planning is necessary, free tours of the White House are available to the public. You must submit tour requests to your member of Congress six months to fifteen days in advance. Students can tour the headquarters of our nation’s legislative branch, at the US Capitol Building. Although there is no charge, visitors must obtain visitor’s passes and go through security screening prior to the visit. Tours of the United States Supreme Court Building are available at no cost, for those interested in touring the headquarters of the judicial branch of government. Public attendance is permitted at oral arguments, although seating is limited.
Monuments and Memorials
Students can visit numerous monuments and memorials, in Washington DC. Several monuments were constructed, in memory of past Presidents of the United States, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Memorials were constructed in memory of veterans of previous wars in our nation’s history, including the African-American Civil War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. All memorials are open to the public and are free of charge.
Washington DC is a city filled with museums. Without charge, students can visit the Smithsonian Museum. This is a collection of museums, located on our nation’s Mall. At the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, students can see historical pieces from our nation’s space program. Students can see the Hope Diamond, at the National Museum of Natural History. The National Museum of American History houses the original inspiration for “The Star Spangled Banner,” Dorothy’s Red Slippers, and Archie Bunker’s famous chair.
While visiting Washington DC, students can attend free theatrical events. The public may attend free daily performances, at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Such performances include a variety of genres, ranging from The National Symphony Orchestra performances to poetry slams. Students can attend “Saturday Morning at the National Theatre,” where they may see various performances such as puppet shows, magicians, ballet performances, or music showcases. Free storytelling, dance festivals and other theatrical performances can be seen at the National Museum of the Native American.