Explore these amazing DC museums without even leaving your couch!
All of DC’s museums may be closed for the time being but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy everything they have to offer. From the National Air & Space Museum to Planet Word, these 18 DC museums offer virtual tours of their collections so you can discover the world without taking your PJs off!
1. Art Museum Of The Americas
The oldest museum of modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art in the US, the AMA has over 2,000 works by some of the greatest Latin American and Caribbean artists. Much of its collection registers some of the artistic trends that developed in Latin America and hold some of the greatest works of art that helped kickstart the career of many of the Latin American and Caribbean masters.
2. Dumbarton Oaks Museum
This historic estate in Georgetown is not only a work of art in and of itself but is also home to an amazing collection of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art as well as European artworks and furnishing.
3. Ford’s Theatre
Still a working theatre, Ford’s Theatre is probably best known for being the site of President Lincoln’s assassination. But this beautiful theatre is also home to a wonderful museum that celebrates the life and legacy of President Lincoln and explores the American experience through theatre and education.
4. Freer & Sackler Galleries, Museums of Asian Art
Besides being home to a wonderful collection of Asian art, the Freer and Sackler Galleries also house a wide collection of 19th-century American art capped by James McNeill Whistler’s “Peacock Room” one of the earliest yet most controversial art installations in existence.
5. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
This luxurious Forest Hills estate is a decorative arts museum known for its vast collection of over 16,000 objects. These include two Russian Imperial Fabergé Eggs, table services commissioned by Russian Empress Catherine the Great and jewelry by Harry Winston and Cartier!
6. National Air & Space Museum
If you’re a fan of space and aviation then this is the museum for you! Home to the world’s largest collection of aviation and space artifacts, at the Air & Space Museum you’ll be able to learn the most interesting tidbits about trips to the moon, how duct tape saved the lives of the Apollo 13 astronauts and why people persist on denying that man actually landed on the moon, among other awesome things!
7. National Building Museum
Discover the history of architecture and its remarkable impact on architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and design, and don’t forget to marvel at the museum building’s colossal 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns that albeit significantly smaller on screen, are still absolutely gorgeous!
8. National Gallery DC
At the National Gallery of Art, you’ll be able to discover the world through the eyes of the great masters of Western Art! Its wide and incredible collection features works by Cassatt, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Murillo, Rembrandt, and Vermeer among others.
9. National Museum of African American History & Culture
The newest addition to the Smithsonian museums, in its collection of over 37,000 objects, you’ll find everything from clothing items to historic photographs and toys documenting the lives of African Americans. The NMAAHC is the only national museum dedicated to the documentation and celebration of African American life, history and culture.
10. National Museum of Natural History
Take a self-guided tour through some of the NMNH’s most popular rooms and exhibits as well as its archives and research collections. And if you missed out on that one exhibit you would’ve love to see, you’re in luck because the NMNH also has virtual tours of all its past exhibits!
11. National Postal Museum
Although it’s hard to believe there was a time when WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist and morse code was still a thing. Now you can discover it at the National Postal Museum. Home to the world’s largest collection of stamps and philatelic material, this is entirely dedicated to showcasing the history of the nation’s mail service and its impact on communication!
12. National Museum of Women in the Arts
The only one of its kind, this museum is entirely dedicated to celebrating women’s achievement in the Arts. Its collection features 5,000 works by more than 1,000 artists including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe.
13. National Portrait Gallery
Immortalized in their collection you’ll find some of the most important poets, presidents, visionaries, villains, activists and actors among others, all individuals that have helped shape America’s history.
14. President Lincoln’s Cottage
Situated in the Petworth neighborhood in NW Washington DC, this cottage served as Lincoln’s summer residence. Take a glimpse into the private life of one of America’s most beloved presidents!
15. Smithsonian American Art Museum
Home to one of the world’s largest collections of American art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates America’s rich artistic and cultural history from colonial times until today.
16. The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection celebrates art’s continuity by juxtaposing arts from the past and the present. Browse through its vast collection of Western Art and discover our ties to the past through the lens of some of the greatest artists in the history of Art.
17. The President Woodrow Wilson House
Take a virtual stroll through the former residence of President Woodrow Wilson and get a special glimpse into the private life of the President that got us through World War I.
18. Planet Word DC
DC’s newest museum, Planet Word has set up an amazing line-up of virtual events for you to enjoy while it remains closed to the public. From poetry and book readings to trivia nights, make sure to check out the museum’s website to discover all it has to offer!
If you’re still hungry for more you can always browse through the almost 3 million images in the Smithsonian’s archives. Known as the Smithsonian Open Access, these archives provide you with access to 2.8 million public domain images that spans the institution’s 19 museums, research centers and the National Zoo.
Or if you wish to venture outside of the Nation’s capital–without breaking the travel ban and quarantine, of course–some of the greatest museums from across the US and the world also offer virtual tours for the curious minds out there. These include the MET and Guggenheim in NYC, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, London’s British Museum and the Prado Museum in Madrid.
Feature image: Quinn Villareal, Unsplash