Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

Gallery Of Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

How can you see all of the exhibits in all of the museums of the Smithsonian? You can’t! But, I was determined to knock a huge dent in the list. We did our best to see as much as possible in each museum, and we definitely gravitated towards some exhibits or items more so than others. Those favorites, we want to share with you.

We wanted to start with a museum that would be super interesting to both Mark and myself. You can’t go wrong with astronauts and planes!

Our favorite items at the National Air and Space Museum:

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

National Museum of American History-

This museum might have been my favorite . Many of the items are so iconic. Many I have seen or read about in text books in school. The history of my country came to life in front of me, and it was amazing.

One of the first Teddy Bears, Julia Child’s Kitchen, Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, and Thomas Jefferson’s Desk.

Our favorite items at the National Museum of American History:

African elephant in the rotunda of the Museum of Natural History.

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

I knew right away that this museum would be a favorite .

Our favorite items at the Museum of Natural History:

The instantly recognized African Elephant in the Rotunda

Recreation of Lucy- the first known human

The original Smithsonian museum: The Smithsonian Castle.

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

The ORIGINAL Smithsonian building.

Stop by to get info, brochures, recommendations, see their small exhibit , and pay respects at the tomb of Mr. Smithson himself.

We STARTED our tour of the Smithsonian galleries with a visit here. It just made sense to us to start where it all began.

Stop by to see the portraits of the Presidents, but be prepared to stay longer. I will definitely go back and wander at my own pace.

Smithsonian American Art Museum-

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

We were only able to view very little of their collection, but it was all amazing.

*THE ART MUSEUMS ARE AWESOME. However, not everyone appreciates art, and those that DO are probably like me and can spend hours in front of one painting alone .

If you ARE an art lover, move ALL art museums to your “Must-See” list. We went to the galleries at the end of each day with our remaining time. I knew there was no way to see it all, didn’t even try to, and was scared that if we went early in the day, I would get caught up looking at brush strokes and the day would be gone. So, this method worked well for us to keep us moving!*

National Museum of the American Indian-

The building that houses this museum is beautiful. Maybe it looked out of place in downtown Washington, but it would have blended beautifully into a landscape of canyons out West. I would love to go back and spend more time looking around.

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

There is a special place in my heart for Native American art. I bought a good many souvenirs on our Route 66 trip that were handmade by local tribes, and I also have a small collection of Oaxacan Folk Art from Mexico. I really had to control myself in this museum gift shop!

Owney, the railway mail’s furry mascot, and his travel tags.

This is another museum that may not sound appealing to all. My opinion? Go. Just go.

If you don’t have an interest in stamps, you may leave with one!

They have a great exhibit on rare stamps, one of Amelia Earhart’s flight suits, and we got to see a very interesting exhibit, titled “Fire and Ice,” with mail from the Titanic and the Hindenburg.

Must-See D.C.: The Smithsonian Museums

I also completely and totally fell in love with a dog named Owney. He was the mascot of the railway mail back in the 1880’s and was so dedicated to the mail that he often hopped on the trains and rode with it. The postal workers put tags from all the places he’d been on his little harness. A dog who loved to travel and had a souvenir collection. I just love him.

What are you most excited to see? Have you been to these museums? What was your favorite item? Have you visited any of the OTHER museums? Let us know what we missed and what we should see next time in the comments below!

Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and doggie-daughter, Gizmo. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.

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