Ugur Akinci | STC Associate Fellow
The National Mall in Washington, DC is truly a national treasure for those interested in art, sciences, and history. The chances are there is a national museum on the Mall for every taste.
But that’s not all. There are also many other places to see and enjoy in or around the District of Columbia. Here are a selected few.
1. Great Falls Park
Visit this gorgeous national park only 15 miles from the city and enjoy the majesty of the Potomac River cascading through the Mather Gorge on its way to the Nation’s capital. In certain months of the year, you can watch the extreme sports fans displaying their hard-earned skills, commanding their canoes over the frothing waterfalls. Great place to have a picnic or hike along the banks. Entrance fee required.
2. Ford’s Theater
Who wouldn’t know about that terrible and fateful day back in 1865 when President Lincoln was shot? This is the place where it all happened, unfortunately. Guided tours are available to this haunting but captivating historic venue. The theater still offers regular stage plays and concerts. Entrance fee required.
3. International Spy Museum
The name of this unique museum says it all, doesn’t it? If interested in cold world intrigue, endless and fascinating trivia about spying methods and things clandestine, this is your place. Test how good a spy you might’ve made through the “interactive spying experiences.” Educational entertainment for all Bonds and would-be Bond villains.
4. National Museum of Women in the Arts
A not very well-known national museum dedicated to supporting the women in the arts. Classical and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and installations.
5. Mount Vernon
The house where George and Martha Washington have lived. A well-kept historic treasure perched on a gentle hill with an open view of the Potomac. In addition to the main mansion, you can also tour the gardens, animal pens, fruit garden and nursey, slave cabin, distillery, gristmill, and more. Guided tours are available. Entrance fee required.
6. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
One of the saddest places you’ll ever visit in Washington; that’s true. But its educational value is undeniable. When I visited it years ago I left with teary eyes and a new understanding regarding the evil that scorched Europe back in the 1940s. Also noteworthy is the way the museum is designed to identify you with one of the victims and relive the whole experience through the eyes of that person. A moving and haunting experience.
7. National Bonzai & Penjing Museum
If you need to take a break and enjoy a few serene, sweet and peaceful hours in the heart of Washington DC, then I recommend this small garden specializing in bonzai trees and penjing. A part of the National Arboretum, it’s a welcoming relief for the eyes and the soul. A perfect place to reflect on your place in the universe and meditate.
8. Library of Congress
Needs no introduction. One of the largest libraries in the world sprawled over multiple buildings. Thus before going, make an inquiry in advance to make sure you’ll visit the correct building. An amazing collection of printed magazines, books, maps, photos, audio recordings, and all kinds of analog and digital media, including films and videos. Also home to frequent conferences, lectures, and book promotions. If you love books and learning you might want to get on the Library’s mailing list.
9. National Building Museum
You don’t need to be interested in buildings and civil engineering to enjoy this museum. Why? Because it’s one of the most jaw-dropping indoor spaces you’ll ever see. When you enter the Main Hall of the museum you can’t help but lift your head up and remain in that position until you leave to savor the beauty of the magnificent Corinthian columns and the arching space. Check out the beautiful Civil War friezes surrounding the building’s exterior.
A concept-based museum dedicated to print, radio, and TV journalism, and the news business in general. Relive many crucial moments in the nation’s history through newsreels and newscasts, like the day JFK was shot. Many educational programs and exhibitions throughout the year.
UGUR AKINCI, PhD, a Fortune 100 tech writer, is a past president of the STC Washington DC Baltimore Chapter and STC Associate Fellow. He is sharing free technical communication tips and tutorials since 2007 at www.tcc6.com