If you wanted to visit a government-run museum or park…


The Washington Post compiled a list of “If you wanted to visit… try this instead…” amidst the government shutdown (which includes the shutdown of many major parks and museums). Here are my additions to the list:

If you wanted to visit the United States Botanic Garden or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, try Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore to see another oasis of plants.

If you wanted to visit the labyrinth at Georgetown Waterfront Park, try the labyrinth at St. Thomas Parish. (Seriously, I never see anyone else using it.)

If you wanted to visit Frederick Douglass House, try the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, which includes quotes from and information about Frederick Douglass in its exhibits.

If you wanted to visit the Washington Monument (the interior of which has been closed anyway due to earthquake damage), try the Washington Masonic Memorial, which offers George Washington-related exhibits and objects as well as a tall tower with a great view.

If you wanted to visit Peirce Mill, try Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens. While the two sites have different content areas, they are located very near each other.

If you wanted to visit Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, try visiting a historic site associated with other important women’s organizations. Examples include the DAR Museum, Sewall-Belmont House, Dumbarton House, and pre-arranged tours of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the American Red Cross.

If you wanted to visit Ford’s Theater or the Lincoln Memorial, try President Lincoln’s Cottage.

If you wanted to visit Lincoln Park in order to bring your dogs or kids there, try Kingman and Heritage Islands Park. There are trails, outdoor classrooms, and picnic tables. If you wanted to visit Lincoln Park in order to watch dogs frolic or see historic statues, try Congressional Cemetery.

If you wanted to visit Sumner School, try Howard University Museum.

If you wanted to visit the Rock Creek Park Visitor Center, try Irvine Nature Center.

If you wanted to visit the National Museum of the United States Navy, try the United States Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center.

If you wanted to visit the Library of Congress, try Dumbarton Oaks, which also has an exhibit of pre-Columbian art.

If you wanted to visit the White House, try the Octagon, which was also where President Madison went when the White House shut down (due to the burning of the White House during the War of 1812).

If you wanted to visit the DC World War I Memorial, try Woodrow Wilson House.

If you wanted to visit Old Stone House, try Thomas Isaac Log Cabin for another example of modest, simple living in a bygone era.

If you wanted to visit the Goddard Visitor Center, try the Maryland Science Center and its planetarium.

If you wanted to visit the Capitol, try standing under another pretty dome at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle, the Franciscan Monastery, Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, or the Walters Art Museum. Or visit the Maryland State House, which has a dome and a legislative body that has not shut down.

If you wanted to visit the Old Post Office Pavilion, try the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (which is considered essential!). Postage stamps used to be made here.

If you wanted to see the Dante statue at Meridian Hill Park, you can instead see the Dante statue at Casa Italia.

What other ideas would you add to this list?

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
This entry was posted in Articles and Books, Capitol Visitor Center, Lists of Museums and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to If you wanted to visit a government-run museum or park…

  1. V says:

    The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is open – Antietam is run by the NPS & is closed.
    http://www.civilwarmed.org/

    • Laura DiSciullo says:

      Thank you for the suggestion! I have been to Antietam but not the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, but I hear good things about it.

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