Top 5 Free Museums to Visit during Your Internship

Posted on Sunday, Nov 10, 2019

Washington D.C. is known for its beautiful monuments, impressive government buildings and of course all the museums holding our nations history. During my semester in D.C. I have done my best to hit one museum every weekend and really take advantage of them while I can. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to most of the museums in D.C. but if you are having some trouble deciding were to go here are my top five picks for free museums in D.C.
  1. National Museum of African American History & Culture
You could truly spend all day wandering through the six levels of this incredible museum. It just opened in fall of 2016 and is one of the most popular Smithsonian’s, for good reason. The bottom three floors that are below ground take you through the history of African Americans starting with the slave trade in the 15th century, all the way until the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The upper floors are dedicated to African American culture and include exhibits on art, music, sports and TV.
  1. The National Archives
I truly don’t know if there is anything that has given me a more patriotic feeling than seeing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at the National Archives. It is incredible to get to see the documents that wrote our country into existence and are still what we base ourselves on today. This museum does not take long to ger through and can easily be done in 45min-hour depending on how long the line is. All that to say it should be a must-see during your time in D.C.
  1. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Holocaust Museum is incredibly well done and tells the story of the Jews living during the Nazi regime in a deeply personal way. When you enter the museum, you receive a passport that tells you the story of a victim of the Holocaust. You learn about where they grew up, how they lived and how they sadly lost their life. The museum also includes a train car that was used to transport the Jews to the concentration camps and a bunker built to resemble those that were in the camps. This museum gives you a very tangible look into the holocaust and leaves you humbled and begging the question: “How did we let this happen?”.
  1. The National Museum of Natural History
This is by far the most interactive and fun museum on the list. The Natural History Museum packed full of various exhibits that take you across the globe and through time. You can see fossil records tracing back to the beginning of the earth and learn about the creatures that lurk at the depths of the sea. This museum truly has something for everyone and will keep you entertained with it’s colorful and educating displays.
  1. The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art is one of the must stunning museums in D.C. The architecture of the building itself is very impressive and each room is filled with the most breathtaking pieces from all around the world. This is a museum you could go back to over and over again and never get enough of. Strolling through the halls with walls covered in paintings created by the most talented artists is overwhelming in all the best ways. This is one of my favorite places to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Abby Martin
International Justice Mission
Washington, D.C. | fall 2019