A Visit to Washington: Learning History and Civics at the Smithsonian

National Museum of African American History and Culture- https://washington.org/dc-focus-on/museums-national-mall

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

There are a number of ways to get students participating and learning about democracy in America. One of the most effective ways to have a successful democracy is through active participation. In other words, what makes a successful democracy is when the citizens participate in the democratic process. Civic and history education allows citizens to understand their own history as well as the rights they have, allowing them to participate effectively and meaningfully in building a better society. This educational process should start as young as possible. 

An incredible resource for learning history and receiving a civic education is a visit to Washington, D.C. People that have never visited Washington may not realize that all the museums within the Smithsonian system are free of charge. The Smithsonian is not just one museum but a system of FREE museums throughout the D.C. area that offers incredible educational resources for people of all ages. The newest museum that was decades in the making is the National Museum of African American History and Culture

In case students and teachers do not have the resources to visit the Smithsonian sites in person, they now have incredible online websites that allow audiences to take virtual tours of the museums. There are also a number of incredible educational resources for students and teachers to use in and out of the classroom. Below I have included links to the museum websites to click on and explore.    

Museums within the Smithsonian System in Washington DC

The National Museum of African American History and Culture
National Museum of American History
Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Nationa Museum of the American Indian
National Musuem of Natural History
National Gallery of Art
National Air and Space Musuem
National Museum of African Art
National Archives Museum


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