Washington, D.C. with kids: American History Museum


There’s the Washington Monument!

This summer, we were able to take two weekend trips to Washington, D.C. My brother lives about an hour from the city, and the Phillies were playing the Nationals both weekend, so it was a great place to head with my parents.

This past school year, Audrey’s fourth grade class studied Pennsylvania and its history. Unfortunately, the textbook she used was incredibly boring and her resulting opinion of history was extremely negative. I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t history’s fault that the textbook writer was lousy, but she kept saying that she didn’t like history. (This is a child who absolutely loves historical fiction.)

So one of my main goals for our trip to D.C. was to reignite Audrey’s interest in history. The first museum we visited was the National American History Museum.

All three of the girls loved this museum. There are so many interesting exhibits. My favorite was the First Ladies’ dresses, but we also enjoyed seeing the Star-Spangled Banner, and an old house that they had taken apart and re-constructed inside the museum.

Rich liked “The Price of Freedom” which talked a lot about America in different wars in its history. My dad loved the Presidents exhibit, while Georgia enjoyed the transportation history exhibit.

Learning about the Star-Spangled Banner

When you first walk into the museum, kids are able to take a paper that shows them some different artifacts to find throughout the museum. Sydney had to find Kermit the Frog and a statue of George Washington. She liked checking each thing off as she found it.

Sydney was in awe of the Ruby Slippers

When we were there earlier this summer, there was a fascinating exhibit about Abraham Lincoln (now closed). They had his top hat and even a scrap of fabric with his blood!

Joel had fun, too. Besides spending time walking back and forth, there were elevator buttons to push! But in seriousness, here were two exhibits in particular that he enjoyed: the Spark!Lab and “Invention at Play.” At each, there were hands-on things for kids, and manipulatives that even Joel could play with.

Joel at the Spark!Lab

When we left the museum, both Georgia and Audrey said how much they loved history. My plan was a success *evil chuckle*! At the end of the trip, Audrey reported that the American History museum had been her favorite of the trip.

 

President Audrey
President Georgia

 Have you been to Washington, D.C.? What was your favorite part of your visit?



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