Day 3 Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian Museums visit
Options include the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Details: Smithsonian Museums visit
Choose between visiting the Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the American Indian Museum or the American Art Museum. In a tomb in the Smithsonian Castle lie the remains of John Smithson, an Englishman who left his fortune to the U.S. government in 1829 for the establishment of a museum in his name. (The government was a bit at a loss, given that Smithson had never visited the U.S., had no connections to the U.S., and never told anyone why he was leaving his money to the U.S.) Since then, the Smithsonian Institution has grown into 16 museums, covering everything from art to zoology. See the giant squid and the insect zoo in the National Museum of Natural History, check out the Wright Brothers’ plane in the National Air and Space Museum, or venture with your Tour Director into the further reaches of this world-class institution.
Details: National Archives
On May 25, 1926, Congress passed the Public Buildings act authorizing a massive public buildings construction project, part of which was to provide office space for the growing Federal agencies in the nation's capital. This program led to the design and construction of buildings within the Federal Triangle area of downtown Washington DC, a then run-down area along Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
In 1937 the National Archives Building was complete. It has 72 Corinthian columns that are each 53 feet high, 5 feet 8 inches in diameter, and weigh 95 tons. Three inscriptions encircle the building.
The west side reads: The glory and romance of our history are here preserved in the chronicles of those who conceived and builded [sic] the structure of our nation.
The east side reads:This building holds in trust the records of our national life and symbolizes our faith in the permanency of our national institutions.
The south side reads:The ties that bind the lives of our people in one indissoluble union are perpetuated in the archives of our government and to their custody this building is dedicated.
Details: Mount Vernon excursion
George Washington so liked his estate at Mount Vernon that he placed the capital nearby so he didn’t have to move when elected president. Tour his gardens and mansion, where George and Martha lived from 1761 until his death in 1799. Don’t look for any cherry tree stumps in the garden, though—Washington never actually chopped down the tree as a lad. (We hate to ruin the story, but we cannot tell a lie!)