Visit Washington, DC! Hotel and travel tips for visiting Washington, DC Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:20:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Washington DC Metro Weekend Track Work Information for September 19-21, 2014 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:06:36 +0000 Metro Train

Washington, DC Metro track work information is available to help visitors and riders plan ahead for weekend travel changes. Metro is investing over 5 billion dollars in the reconstruction of its Metrorail system, and track work is expected on most weekends. Weekly updates are provided to inform travelers which lines are affected. This is a weekly press release provided by Metro. Service changes begin at 10pm on Friday night and continue through closing on Sunday night.

According to Metro:

“Silver and Yellow line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals (Yellow Line trains will run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Sq only). Green and Blue line trains will run every 20 minutes, and Orange Line trains will run every 24 minutes. Red Line trains will operate every 15 minutes with additional trains between Grosvenor and NoMa-Gallaudet during daytime hours.


Orange Line 

Trains every 24 minutes

Orange Line trains will operate every 24 minutes throughout the weekend. Normal service is every 12 minutes.

Work Performed:
Platform rehabilitation and communications upgrades between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly.

Travel Tips:

  • Riders at Vienna, Dunn Loring and West Falls Church may consider parking at East Falls Church where Silver Line trains will provide more frequent service.
  • Metrobus service may provide an alternate travel option for some riders. To check, plan your trip using Trip Planner and select the “bus only” option.
  • Before traveling, consult the trip planner at to check the special schedule and reduce your wait time. (Trip Planner is updated to reflect weekend rebuilding schedules on Fridays; please check on Friday afternoon or later.) You will experience the additional wait time on the platform. Once your train departs the station, it is not expected to encounter additional delays en route.


Red Line

Trains every 8-15 minutes

Red Line trains will operate as follows throughout the weekend:

  • Between Shady Grove & Glenmont: every 15 minutes
  • Between Grosvenor & NoMa-Gallaudet: every 8-10 minutes Saturday and Sunday from 9AM-9PM only

Work Performed:
Light pole installation and track joint elimination between NoMa-Gallaudet and Rhode Island Ave. On Saturday and Sunday, Metro will continue railcar testing and acceptance of the new fleet of 7000-series railcars between Twinbrook and Shady Grove.

Travel Tips:

  • Metrobus service may provide an alternate travel option for some riders. To check, plan your trip using Trip Planner and select the “bus only” option.
  • Before traveling, consult the trip planner at to check the special schedule and reduce your wait time. (Trip Planner is updated to reflect weekend rebuilding schedules on Fridays; please check on Friday afternoon or later.) You will experience the additional wait time on the platform. Once your train departs the station, it is not expected to encounter additional delays en route.


Silver Line

Regular weekend service


Blue Line

Trains every 20 minutes

Blue Line trains will operate every 20 minutes throughout the weekend. Normal service is every 12 minutes.

Work Performed:
Fence installation between Braddock Road and Van Dorn St.

Travel Tips:

  • For some riders traveling between Virginia and DC, taking the Yellow Line and transferring at L’Enfant Plaza may provide a faster trip.
  • Metrobus service may provide an alternate travel option for some riders. To check, plan your trip using Trip Planner and select the “bus only” option.
  • Before traveling, consult the trip planner at to check the special schedule and reduce your wait time. (Trip Planner is updated to reflect weekend rebuilding schedules on Fridays; please check on Friday afternoon or later.) You will experience the additional wait time on the platform. Once your train departs the station, it is not expected to encounter additional delays en route.


Yellow Line

Regular weekend service between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Sq only

Yellow Line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals. All trains will operate to/from Mt Vernon Sq, rather than Fort Totten. If you are traveling to or from a station north of Mt Vernon Sq, use a Green Line train to complete your trip.


Green Line

Trains every 20 minutes

Green Line trains will operate every 20 minutes throughout the weekend. Normal service is every 12 minutes.

Work Performed:
Rail tie, fastener and insulator renewal along with continued construction of a new test track between Prince George’s Plaza and Greenbelt to accept Metro’s new fleet of 7000-series railcars.

Travel Tips:

  • Metrobus service may provide an alternate travel option for some riders. To check, plan your trip using Trip Planner and select the “bus only” option.
  • Before traveling, consult the trip planner at to check the special schedule and reduce your wait time. (Trip Planner is updated to reflect weekend rebuilding schedules on Fridays; please check on Friday afternoon or later.) You will experience the additional wait time on the platform. Once your train departs the station, it is not expected to encounter additional delays en route.


For more information:

For schedules, real-time train arrivals and station information, visit Metro riders can access Metro’s new mobile website by entering into their smartphone browser. For assistance by phone, call Metro customer information at (202) 637-7000 [TTY 202-638-3780].”

For more information on traveling by Metrobus or Metrorail, visit


 * Photo Credit: WMATA Photograph by Larry Levine


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White House Visitor Center Reopens to the Public Sept 13, 2014 Wed, 10 Sep 2014 20:55:57 +0000 The White House in Washington, DC

From the National Park Service:

The White House Visitor Center in Washington DC, operated by the National Park Service (NPS), officially opens to the public at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, September 13, 2014. Included in the nearly 16,000 square ft. remodeled space is a new retail store, run by the Association, which supports the upkeep of the visitor center and the Association’s larger educational mission.

The transformed space affords an outstanding stand-alone experience and provides an enhanced experience for visitors who take a self-guided White House tour. All new exhibits weave together the stories of the White House as a home, office, stage and ceremonial space, museum, and park. More than 90 White House artifacts, many of which have never been on public display, give a glimpse into life and work inside the Executive Mansion.

“The partnership between the National Park Service and the White House Historical Association has created a captivating new experience for all Americans and people from around the world,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said. “I am proud of the thought and care that inspired the White House Visitor Center’s world-class exhibits and accessibility – and encouraged by the modern technology that seeks to engage our country’s next generation in the important and historic story of the Presidencies that have shaped our country.”

The Association’s contribution of $7.5 million to the project has enabled the National Park Service to create a modern, engaging, and fully accessible visitor experience. The Association has pledged an additional $5 million endowment that will be used for ongoing care and updates to the center.

“The White House is one of our nation’s most important icons—this visitor center is dedicated to making it accessible to all, in new and exciting ways. Through the use of rare artifacts, new technologies and innovative displays, it will make the White House experience more meaningful for all who visit Washington,” White House Historical Association Chairman Ryan said.

The Association’s impressive contribution helped to create a space above and beyond what the NPS would have been able to do on its own. Through partnerships, the NPS is able to expand its programming and benefits to this and future generations.

“The National Park Service and White House Historical Association’s collaborative effort to modernize the White House Visitor Center demonstrates the level of excellence we can achieve through a modern public-private partnership,” said NPS Director Jarvis. “As we approach the National Park Service’s Centennial in 2016, this center will help us to engage new audiences in the great stories we tell through some of our nation’s most iconic places.”

“The White House Historical Association’s mission of enhancing the public’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Executive Mansion is brought to life in the new White House Visitor Center. Visitors will experience an incredible interactive exhibit, rich with artifacts from the White House Collection, and a new signature film featuring interviews with members of first families across administrations. We believe this project is exemplary of what is possible through public-private partnerships,” said Stewart McLaurin, president of the Association.

The visitor center and new exhibits were designed with a strong focus on accessibility for all visitors, and the project team worked closely with the National Center on Accessibility to achieve a fully accessible experience. Exhibits provide numerous tactile exhibits for visitors who are blind or have low vision; all videos are open-captioned, and a comprehensive audio description of the exhibits and interactive elements will also be available.

The NPS and the Association hope to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Gold certification, the second-highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Sustainability efforts include exhibit design that uses energy efficient lighting and limits power usage by audio-visual systems, a new entrance vestibule that greatly reduces the temperature and humidity swings inside the center, and low-flow faucets and toilets, which will reduce potable water use by 32.5 percent.

The White House Visitor Center is free and open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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September 2014 Programs at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:34:05 +0000 September 2014 Programs at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Programs are free and open to the public unless ticket information is noted.

Art Talks and Activities

Conservation Clinic
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, by appointment
Have questions about the condition of a painting, frame, drawing, print, or object that you own? Our conservators are available by appointment to consult about the preservation of your art. To request an appointment, e-mail and specify CLINIC in the subject line. Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Tickets: by appointment
Event Link:

American Art: After and Before
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 1pm
Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s conservators in the gallery where they discuss a featured artwork after it has received treatment. Then continue on to the Lunder Conservation Center for a behind-the scenes look at the way conservation staff apply science, art history, and skilled hands to address artworks before they are exhibited in the museum.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Meet in G Street Lobby
Event Link:

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 5:30-8pm
Crafting and craft brews are a perfect pairing at American Art! IN September, DC’s premier “crafty hour” partners with Fantom Comics for an evening of all-you-can-craft activities with a comic book flair. Enjoy craft beers selected for the event by Greg Engert of ChurchKey, and live music from local duo FarAway. Admission is $20 (ages 21 years of age and older) at the door and includes all-you-can-craft, two drinks, and light snacks.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, Third Floor
Event Link:

Modern Art Conversations- Open Discussion
Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 6pm
Want to know more about modern art, or sometimes feel like you don’t “get it?” Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for gallery talks focused on modern and contemporary art. “Open Discussion” sessions encourage free-flowing conversation.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lincoln Gallery, Third Floor
Event Link:

Beyond Grief Gallery Tour
Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 5:30pm
Sculpture curatorKaren Lemmeyleads a tour of selected sculptures in the museum’s collection that express mourning, focusing on works highlighted in Cynthia J. Mills’ new book Beyond Grief: Sculpture and Wonder in the Gilded Age Cemetery.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Meet in G Street Lobby
Event Link:

Preserving Public Art: A 21st Century Approach
Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6pm
Objects conservator and art and design consultant Richard S. McCoy speaks about new ways to care for artwork using today’s technology, highlighting his past work with the Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS) program, conservation in social media initiatives, and new resources in his current projects.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Drawing at Dusk
Friday, September 12, 2014, 5:30-7pm
Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for an evening session of Draw and Discover! Enjoy a short lesson with artist Joanna Barnum, then spend time sketching two dancers in the Luce Foundation Center. Basic drawing materials provided. All ages and artistic ability welcome.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Center, Third Floor
Event Link:

A Closer Look at the Emergence of Modern Art – Lecture Series with William Kloss
Saturday, September 13
Saturday, September 20
Saturday, September 27
Art historian and scholar William Kloss presents a three-part lecture series about modern art: its controversial beginnings, experimental styles and the artists’ intentions. Space is limited; register at
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Register online at
Event Link:

Hispanic Heritage Family Festival
Saturday, September 13, 2014, 11:30am-4pm
Bring the whole family to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery with a full day of live music, dance performances, demonstrations, and hands-on arts activities for kids.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
Event Link:

Luce Artist Talks with Emily Francisco
Sunday, September 14, 2014, 1:30pm
Emily Francisco, a local artist who works in sculpture, time-based media and sound, discusses her work in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection. Francisco deconstructs and reimagines musical instruments, combining them with a variety of media in order to create visual and auditory experiences for her audience. The series is presented with CulturalDC’s Flashpoint Gallery. Free coffee or tea available.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, Third Floor
Event Link:

Clarice Smith Lecture with Eric Fischl
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7pm
The Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art series highlights excellence and innovation in American art through lectures by an outstanding artist, scholar and critic. Artist Eric Fischl will speak about his work and touch on his coming of age as an artist in New York in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free Tickets available starting at 6:30pm
Event Link:

Eldredge Prize Lecture with Wendy Bellion
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 4pm
Join Wendy Bellion, associate professor at the University of Delaware and winner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s 2014 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship, for a discussion entitled “Here Trust Your Eyes”: Visual Illusion and the Early American Theater.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Art Signs: ASL Gallery talks
September 18, 2014, 5:30pm
Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for gallery conversations about artworks presented in ASL(American Sign Language). For more information, email
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Meet in F Street Lobby
Event Link:

The Art of Tom Lea Symposium
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 9am-2pm
This national conference examines the importance of preserving WPA-era murals, using the work of celebrated American muralist Tom Lea as a case study. Betsy Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Sen. John Cornyn (TX) will introduce a series of panel discussions featuring distinguished experts and scholars.
Location: McEvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free – Register at
Event Link:



Steinway Series featuring the Verge Ensemble
Sunday, September 14, 2014, 3pm
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Steinway Series showcases classical chamber music performed by the finest musicians in the region in concerts featuring the museum’s Steinway Concert Grand model D piano. The Verge Ensemble’s three pianists, Jenny Lin, Lura Johnson, and Audrey Andrist, perform solo works by Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Scriabin, as well Rachmaninoff’s Valse and Romance for piano six hands and a transcription of Stravinsky’s monumental Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) for piano four hands.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free tickets available at 2:30pm in G Street Lobby
Event Link:

Take 5! Grant Green on Blue Note
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 5-7pm
Relax and “Take 5!” with free, live jazz in the museum courtyard. The museum’s celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Blue Note Records continues as Pete Muldoon and group pay homage to jazz composer and guitarist Grant Green. Stop by the Courtyard Café for refreshments and borrow a board game to play during the concert. Feeling inspired to create? Local printmakers create a temporary studio, offering a free opportunity to make your own print to take home.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
Event Link:

Luce Unplugged with Louis Weeks
Sunday, September 21, 2014, 1:30pm
Explore the thousands of artworks in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Center while listening to acoustic sets by local musician Louis Weeks. Weeks is a DC-based, Baltimore-bred composer and songwriter. During the day he writes music for film, television, and video games. By night he makes his own recordings full of ambient beats.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, Third floor
Event Link:


Ongoing Programs

Sketching: Draw and Discover!
Tuesdays, 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Draw inspiration from artists’ sketches as well as the thousands of objects on display in the Luce Foundation Center of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, then spend time sketching in our workshop. Some materials provided; please bring a small sketchbook and pencils. Repeats weekly.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, meet at the Luce Foundation Center information desk
Event Link:

For more information on this museum, visit our Smithsonian American Art Museum page.

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Special Events and Seasonal Tours this Fall at Mount Vernon Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:06:26 +0000 mount vernon gardens and estate -- george washington's home

Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, has special events this Fall for the whole family! Learn how to play cricket with our 18th-century cricket expert during the Colonial Market & Fair, September 20-21. Then in October, take the kids for a spooktacular evening of fun at Mount Vernon’s first ever Trick-or-Treat event! In October and November, go behind-the-scenes and take a photography workshop with Washington Safari.  Check out the seasonal tours below, followed by Mount Vernon’s special events for this fall. Plan your visit to Mount Vernon today!

Seasonal Tours

All the President’s Pups
Saturdays, September 6 – October 25, 10 a.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon invites all dogs and their two-legged friends to explore the Estate through a new guided walking tour devoted to dogs! All The President’s Pups walking tour takes place on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. through October 25. This special walking tour covers 1.25 miles of Mount Vernon terrain stopping at five historic locations, including the West Gate. Learn about canine life at Mount Vernon, from the first president’s dogs to the dogs that live at Mount Vernon today. All The President’s Pups walking tour costs $5 in addition to estate admission for humans. Admission for dogs is free. All dogs must be leashed with their owner at all times.

Dinner for the Washingtons
Saturdays and Sundays, through October 26, 12 p.m.
Ever wonder what George Washington ate for dinner? The Dinner for the Washingtons walking tour goes behinds the scenes to find out how food was prepared and served before the era of microwaves and TV dinners.  The one-hour walking tour showcases food, hospitality, and dining at Mount Vernon by taking an in-depth look at locations around the Estate, including the basement cellar. The tour concludes in Mount Vernon’s greenhouse with a toast to Washington and a sample of food based on an 18th century recipe. This special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to estate admission.

National Treasure Tour
Daily through October 31, 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
The National Treasure Tour is dedicated to the behind-the-scenes filming of the blockbuster movie “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” at Mount Vernon.  This popular tour combines Hollywood and history, giving visitors stories about the filming and also information on how the locations were used during George Washington’s time.  Included in this approximately hour-long walking tour is the Mansion’s basement and cornerstone, the setting for a pivotal scene. Fans of the movie will recognize the space as the location where Nicolas Cage’s character kidnaps the president. This special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to estate admission.

Saving Mount Vernon
Saturdays and Sundays, through October 26, 3:30 p.m.
During this one-hour tour, visit the rarely seen Mansion basement and wander the historic area to learn of the heroics of the estate’s caretakers during the Civil War, and the robust efforts of many over the century and a half that followed.  This special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to estate admission.

Through My Eyes
Saturdays and Sundays, through October 26, 1:30 p.m.
Step back in time for a 45-minute immersive experience. Join people from Washington’s world, like his granddaughter, personal secretary, or farm manager, as they go about their daily activities, making several stops along the way. This special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to estate admission.

Special Events

Gentleman Distiller: Whiskey Tasting & Dinner
Friday, September 12, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Learn more about George Washington’s role as “Distiller in Chief” at this exclusive event! The evening begins with a reception at the Distillery & Gristmill, where guests will get a first-hand look at how whiskey was produced in Washington’s time. The event continues on the estate with a brief talk by Mount Vernon’s distillery staff, followed by a whiskey tasting and seated dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn. Tickets are $125 per person.

Colonial Market & Fair
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 – 21, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The annual Colonial Market & Fair at Mount Vernon features dozens of America’s finest craftspeople and plenty of family fun!  Fifty colonial-attired artisans demonstrate 18th-century crafts and sell traditional wares such as baskets, woodcarvings, tin and ironwork, leatherworkings, weavings, furniture, and much more.  New this year: Try your hand at 18th century cricket! Cricket games will be played throughout the weekend. “General Washington” will be on hand overseeing the lively Revolutionary War military drills and 18th-century entertainment including music, fire-eating, sword-swallowing, puppet and magic shows, plus hearty specialty food for sale on site. This weekend only, Potomac River sightseeing cruises, courtesy of Spirit Cruises and Potomac Riverboat Company, are free of charge.  The Colonial Market & Fair at Mount Vernon is included in admission.

Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 3-5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Enjoy live blues and spectacular views of the Potomac River while sampling wine from 16 Virginia wineries. Visitors learn about the successes and failures of our Founding Father’s wine endeavors, enjoy live blues music, and meet “George and Martha Washington” on the Mansion’s piazza.  Guests experience an evening tour of the Washingtons’ home and are invited to visit the basement where he stored his wine. Tickets to the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour are $38 per person Friday and Sunday night; Saturday night $44 per person, fruit and cheese boxes are $26 each. Tickets are available at the Ford Orientation Center or

Brewing History: Beer Tasting, Tour & Dinner
Friday, October 24, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Mount Vernon hosts a special beer dinner, brewing demonstration, and private Mansion tour for guests at the first president’s estate. Learn more about how beer was brewed and enjoyed in early America. The evening begins with a reception and beer tasting. Following the reception, groups will experience a private tour of the Mansion. A special 18th-century beer brewing demonstration in the historic area will focus on the beer that would have been consumed by Washington. Listen to knowledgeable staff while enjoying a four-course menu paired with specialty beers by the Mount Vernon Inn.  Tickets are $95 and are available online at beginning September 15. Includes tax and gratuity.

Capturing an American Icon: Fall Photo Workshop at Mount Vernon
Saturday, October 25, 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, November 2, 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday, November 10, 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Join Mount Vernon for an exciting new program, Capturing an American Icon: Fall Photo Workshop at Mount Vernon, offered in partnership with Washington Photo Safari. The photo safari includes many of Mount Vernon’s picturesque outdoor settings, including the gardens, orchard, farm, historic structures, and the Potomac River. Participants will go “behind-the-scenes” to areas of the estate not available to the general public. Washington Photo Safari director E. David Luria will give hands-on tips in architectural, travel, and nature photography, as well as instruction on camera use. Participants at any skill level, with any camera, are invited to attend. Guests are responsible for providing their own equipment and for any photo processing. This workshop is $89 per person and includes estate admission.  Tickets are available at or at the Ford Orientation Center.

Fall Harvest Family Days
Saturday & Sunday, October 25-26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mount Vernon celebrates the autumn season with Fall Harvest Family Days! The entire family enjoys autumn activities including wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, 18th-century dancing demonstrations, a straw bale maze, farrier (blacksmithing) demonstrations, apple-roasting, corn husk dolls demonstrations and early-American games and music.  Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half-price this weekend only. Fall Harvest Family Days is included in estate admission.

Trick-or-Treat at Mount Vernon (New!)
Friday, October 31, 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
A historic treat! Mount Vernon opens its doors for the first time to trick-or-treaters! Join the costumed cast of interpreters for a special opportunity to trick-or-treat in the historic area. A special scavenger hunt is available for our more adventurous guests. All trick-or-treaters are invited to join in the children’s costume parade around the Mansion at 6 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the best “George” and “Martha” costumes!  Participate in a Halloween craft activity in the greenhouse.  Special trade demonstrations, like 18th-century wool spinning and laundry washing, will take place in the historic area. Listen to Halloween-themed stories in the straw bale amphitheater, enjoy colonial games and dancing demonstrations, and take a wagon ride. The Mansion and Donald W. Reynolds Museum will not be open for this event. Tickets are required for all adults and children to attend this event. The cost is $10 per adult and $5 per child. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and close at 6 p.m.

Ford Evening Book Talks
Thursday, September 18, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 2, 7 p.m.
The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington invites you to join us for our monthly Ford Evening Book Talk, which features authors and historians discussing their latest books about George Washington and our nation’s Founding era. Lectures are free and open to the public, and books will be available for purchase. Space is limited; registration is required. Please visit for more information.


For more information about Mount Vernon, visit our Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens Page.

To buy tickets online to Mount Vernon, click here.

For hotels close to Mount Vernon, click here


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September 2014 Events at the National Building Museum Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:02:02 +0000 September 2014 Events and Exhibits at the National Building Museum in Washington DC

Plan your September visit to the National Building Museum in Washington DC and check out the following events:

National Building Museum


Tuesday, September 2, 2014
10 am–Noon

Book of the Month: Tools Rule by Aaron Meshon
Readings at 10:30 and 11:30 am.
Free with admission to Building Zone.
Recommended for ages 3–5.
In a messy yard, a team of tools begins to work. This colorful book illustrates construction basics as everyone—wrench, hammer, screwdriver, and saw—pitches in to build a tool shed.

Saturday, September 20, 2014
10 am–4 pm

Family Festival: The Big Build
Free. Drop-in program.
All ages.
Become a builder for the day! Explore tools, trucks, and building materials; try hands-on carving, design, and construction; and help us break the Guinness World Record for “World’s Tallest Toy” at the Museum’s annual family festival.

Talks & Tours

(the numbers and letters at the end of each entry indicate that attendees could earn professional continuing education credits)

Monday–Sunday, September 1–6, 2014
All Day

Free. Drop-in program.
This design/build competition features amazing structures made entirely of canned goods by local architecture and construction teams, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank. See entries on display in the Great Hall from August 23–September 5 and watch De-Canstruction on September 6 as the teams disassemble their entries to donate the canned food used in their projects. Visit for more information.

Saturday, September 6, 2014
Noon–1:30 pm

Museum Shop Program: A History of Rock Creek Park: Wilderness & Washington, D.C.
Free. Drop-in program.
Author, historian, and National Park ranger Scott Einberger discusses the diverse history of the largest park in the nation’s capital and an Olmsted brothers site: Rock Creek Park. From the cabin of eccentric poet Joaquin Miller to the oldest house in Washington today, stories and legends come alive in this entertaining and informative book. A book signing follows the talk. Book price: $18 Member / $19.99 Non-member.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
6–8 pm
Keystone Society Program: Perkins+Will Open House for Emerging Professionals
Free Keystone Society member | $10 Non-member. Space limited, prepaid registration required.
Join fellow young professionals at the D.C. office of global design firm Perkins+Will as they open their doors to the Keystone Society. Enjoy an evening of networking, an office tour, and professional insights from Perkins+Will staff members. Refreshments will be served.

Sunday, September 14, 9 am–5 pm, Design Charrette
Monday, September 15, 5 pm, Awards Ceremony
Interschool Student Design Competition
Free. Drop-in program.
Teams of students from the area’s six collegiate architecture programs participate in a day-long design competition held in the Museum’s Great Hall. An award ceremony takes place the next day. The program is a collaboration of the Museum, local universities, and the leadership of the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter Schools Connections Committee, and are offered as part of AIA|DC’s Architecture Week. The six teams represent The Catholic University of America, Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, Virginia Tech Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Morgan State University, and University of Maryland.

Monday, September 15, 2014
6:30–8 pm

Spotlight on Design: MAD Architects
$12 Member | $12 Student | $20 Non-member.
The Beijing-based architecture firm MAD Architects is committed to developing futuristic, organic designs that embody a contemporary interpretation of the Eastern spirit of nature. Founding principal Ma Yansong explains how MAD’s work in sustainable design and advanced architecture technology achieves harmony between natural and urban conditions to meet the environmental needs of today’s cities.
1.5 LU HSW (AIA)

Sunday, September 28, 2014
5:30–6:30 pm

Panel Discussion: Daniel Burnham Forum on Big Ideas: Building Cities with Private Capital for Public Goods
$10 Museum or APA member & Student | $15 Non-member.
Both the private and philanthropic sectors are increasingly important to major public building projects as foundations, investment banks, private equity firms, and individual corporations become directly involved in re-shaping our cities. As this trend increases, so too do questions about public participation and overall effectiveness. The Forum examines these issues from the perspective both of those making the investments and communities welcoming new partners. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) is invited to give remarks and incoming APA president William Anderson, FAICP, moderates a panel discussion.
1.0 LU HSW (AIA) / 1.0 CM (AICP) / 1.0 PDH (LA CES)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
12:30–1:30 pm

Smart Growth: The Dollars and Sense of City Building
Free. Pre-registration required.
Municipalities across the country have been struggling to meet financial obligations as revenues decline and costs increase. This program explores the fiscal impact of land use and design decisions on the bottom line of cities. Joe Minicozzi, AICP, principal, Urban3, draws from years of research to help visualize the economic productivity of urban growth patterns, show how cities adopt growth, and offer design strategies to ensure long-term financial solvency.
1.0 LU HSW (AIA) / 1.0 CM (AICP) / 1.0 PDH (LA CES)

Sunday, September 28, 8:30 pm
Sunday, October 12, 8 pm and 9 pm
Friday, October 17, 8 pm and 9 pm
Sunday, October 19, 8 pm and 9 pm
Ghost Tours
$22 Member | $25 Non-member.
Tours recommended for ages 10+. Registration required.
Wander the darkened halls of the Museum’s historic home and learn its spooky stories. We’ve introduced a new tour for 2014! Join us, if you dare.


The BIG Maze
Through September 1, Last Chance!
Inspired by ancient labyrinths, garden and hedge mazes of 17th and 18th-century Europe, and modern American corn mazes, this contemporary maze designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, boasts a series of twists and turns for visitors to weave through and explore.

Investigating Where We Live: D.C. Now & Next
Through July 7, 2015
During the five weeks of Investigating Where We Live, local teens used digital photography, writing, and original artwork to explore, document, and interpret the built environment in Washington, D.C. With the help of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., local photographers, and Museum curators, the 2014 participants selected the photos and writings they felt define the city’s identity. Join us for a visual journey and discover a fresh perspective on the nation’s capital.

Designing for Disaster
Through August 2, 2015
Design can—and does—reduce our risk and increase our resiliency to the most destructive forces of nature. From seismic retrofits and safe rooms to firebreaks and floodplain management, Designing for Disaster showcases how regional, community, and individual preparedness are the best antidotes to disaster.

Cool & Collected: Recent Acquisitions
Through May 25, 2015
Dozens of objects from the Museum’s collection—from a 9- foot-tall statue to a tiny dollhouse chair—illustrate the varied ways we can learn about architecture and design. Join us as we open up our storage room and display some special objects.

Build them up…and knock them down! Create the tallest towers, the most ridiculous shapes, the truly impossible structures. Children and adults alike are encouraged to put their skills to the test and let their imaginations run wild with blocks—small, big, and virtual—in this exhibition, which also features a selection of architectural and construction toys from the Museum’s collection.

Building Zone
The Building Zone—for ages 2-6 with adult supervision—introduces children to the building arts through play.

House & Home
Exhibition Tours: Mondays and Fridays at 2:30 pm, Wednesdays at 10:30 am, and Saturdays at 10:45 am (based on docent availability).
House & Home features a kaleidoscopic array of photographs, objects, models, and films that takes visitors on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, exploring American domestic life and residential architecture.


For more information about this museum, see our National Building Museum page.

Register online at or by calling 202.272.2448.

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit is Closed Wed, 16 Jul 2014 20:27:18 +0000 National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit

The following Press Release is from the National Zoo in Washington DC:

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit, home to dozens of small aquatic and terrestrial species without backbones, closed to the public Sunday, June 22, 2014. The last day to visit the Invertebrate House was Saturday, June 21, 2014.

“This difficult decision is not a reflection of the importance of invertebrates or how we feel about them,” said Dennis Kelly, Zoo director. “The exhibit has been a hidden gem cared for by passionate and expert staff. But this was a necessary decision for the financial and operational health of our organization.”

Closing the Invertebrate Exhibit permits the Zoo to reallocate funding, staff and resources to other areas of the Zoo that need attention. With overall costs escalating, the Zoo must adapt its activities and programs to live within its existing budget while continuing excellent animal care and planning for the future.

Every permanent staff person will retain their job and be reassigned to other positions throughout the Zoo. The Invertebrate Exhibit, as it exists today, is not included in the Zoo’s Strategic Five-Year Plan or its 20-Year Programmatic Master Plan. The long-term vision includes a future Hall of Biodiversity, which will include some invertebrate species. The annual operating cost for the Invertebrate Exhibit is $1 million. The exhibit currently needs an estimated $5 million in upgrades to equipment, life-support systems, building infrastructure and exhibit interpretation.

In 1987, the National Zoo opened the Invertebrate Exhibit in the basement of the Reptile Discovery Center. Hailed as a ground-breaking exhibit at the time, it allowed the Zoo to showcase and educate visitors about invertebrates as nature’s unsung heroes, quietly playing vital roles in Earth’s ecosystems. Invertebrates make up about 99 percent of all known living species. Today, the Invertebrate Exhibit is home to the common cuttlefish, corals, anemones, the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, water scorpions, the giant hermit crab, leaf-cutter ants, the American spiny lobster, giant clam and butterflies, among others.

Per Smithsonian protocol, most of the animals will be de-accessioned through formal processes to new homes. Some will be moved to Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities, and some may be moved to another location in the Zoo. Those with short life spans will likely live out their lives in the Invertebrate Exhibit. The Zoo will provide updates on the invertebrate collection via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and through National Zoo News.

For more information about the zoo, visit our National Zoo page.


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National Cherry Blossom Festival Announces 2015 Event Dates Thu, 03 Jul 2014 19:01:24 +0000 washington dc cherry blossoms

The organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC have announced the following festival dates for 2015.

The 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival will begin the first day of spring, Friday, March 20, 2015, and continue through Sunday, April 12, 2015. The following signature events have also been scheduled:

  • Pink Tie Party fundraiser – Thursday, March 19, 2015
  • Family Days presented with the National Building Museum – Saturday & Sunday, March 21-22, 2015
  • Opening Ceremony – Saturday, March 21, 2015
  • Blossom Kite Festival – Saturday, March 28, 2015
  • Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival – Saturday, April 4, 2015
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade® – Saturday, April 11, 2015
  • Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival – Saturday, April 11, 2015

For more information about the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, visit our Cherry Blossom Festival page.


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US Capitol Police Information for the Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks in Washington DC Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:59:46 +0000 The US Capitol Police have issued the following press release to help visitors to the National Mall for the Fourth of July events in Washington D.C.:

A Capitol Fourth Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

Concert and Rehearsal Times

“On Friday, July 4, 2014, at 8:00 p.m., A Capitol Fourth Concert will be broadcast live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. There will be a full concert dress rehearsal for this event on Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Both the rehearsal and the concert are free and no tickets are required. On both days, gates will open to the public at 3:00 p.m.

Public Access, Mobility Impaired Information and Traveling Tips

The general public can access the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol via Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. or Third Street and Maryland Avenue, S.W. Mobility impaired guests and their party may access the West Lawn at both public entry points which will be wheelchair accessible.

A limited number of parking spaces for mobility impaired guests and their party will be available on a first come, first serve basis along the south curb of Constitution Avenue between First Street and Third Street, N.W. on July 3 and 4.

Due to increased security measures, the public should expect traffic delays surrounding the Capitol Grounds. Parking in the immediate area of the U.S. Capitol is extremely limited. Please visit to help plan your trip using public transportation.

Prohibited Items and Security Measures

The U.S. Capitol Police along with event and production staff closely monitor weather conditions. Any changes to the schedule of events based on adverse weather conditions will be announced to the general public. If an evacuation occurs, please follow the directions of the U.S. Capitol Police.

Additional security measures will be in place to ensure the safety and security of those in attendance. Anyone attending events on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol must adhere to security screening procedures before entering the event site. This will include an administrative search of all bags, coolers, backpacks, and closed containers.

For this event, food items are permitted. You are encouraged to bring your own supply of water or an empty water bottle that can be filled at on-site water stations. Alcoholic beverages of any kind and glass bottles are prohibited. In addition to any other items determined to be prohibited at the discretion of the U.S. Capitol Police, the following items are prohibited:


Tour Bus Access

Tour buses will not have access to Garfield Circle and Peace Circle from Wednesday, July 2 through Friday, July 4.

Street Closures

Temporary street closures will begin on Wednesday, July 2 at 12:01 a.m. through Saturday, July 5 at 4:00 a.m.:

  • First Street between Independence Avenue, S.W. and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. between First Street, N.W. and Third Street, N.W.
  • Maryland Avenue between First Street, S.W. and Third Street, S.W.

For additional information on “A Capitol Fourth,” please visit

If there are any questions about this event, you may contact the United States Capitol Police Public Information Office at 202-224-1677.”


For more information on the Fourth of July in Washington DC, Visit our A Capitol Fourth – 4th of July events page.

To view this press release, click here.



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The Washington Monument Reopened for Tours on May 12, 2014 Tue, 25 Mar 2014 19:00:17 +0000 Washington Monument

The following press release is from the National Park Service:

Washington, D.C. – The National Park Service (NPS) announced that the remaining scaffolding surrounding the Washington Monument will begin to come down this week in preparation for the Monument’s re-opening on May 12 after a 32-month closure due to damage from an earthquake. The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall will host a re-opening ceremony at 10 a.m. that morning.

Public tours of the Monument on the day of the reopening, May 12, will begin at 1:00 p.m. The tickets will be available on a first come-first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. that day at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson Drives. Tickets for tours on May 13 and all future dates will be available on the NPS reservation page,, starting on April 16, at 10 a.m.

“We are delighted to be in the homestretch with the repairs to the Washington Monument almost complete, and we look forward to the re-opening on May 12 so we can once again welcome visitors to this iconic monument to our nation’s first President,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are grateful for David Rubenstein’s generous donation that funded half of the $15 million repair bill. David’s support of the national parks and the work of the National Park Service sets a high standard for park philanthropy nationwide and is appreciated by every visitor who will learn something about President Washington or simply enjoy the view from the top.”

“The National Park Service has done a spectacular job of repairing the monument, and I hope as many people as possible will soon be able to see the unique view from the top,” said philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.

Mr. Rubenstein donated $7.5 million to the monument’s restoration via the Trust for the National Mall, matching the public funds allocated by Congress.

“We are grateful for Mr. Rubenstein’s generosity and the National Park Service’s diligent work. Thanks to this successful public-private partnership, visitors can once again experience the full grandeur and history of the National Mall,” said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall.

Because of the closure of the Monument, the National Park Service will begin extended operating hours on May 12. The Monument will be open from 9a.m. until 10p.m. until the end of summer.

The Washington Monument has been closed since August 23, 2011, due to damage received in a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. It is now in the final stages of the restoration, which included repairs to more than 150 cracks in the structure.

About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at:


For more information about the Washington Monument, visit our Washington Monument page.


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American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. to be Dedicated on October 5, 2014 Tue, 18 Mar 2014 21:23:31 +0000 American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

DVLMF Board members visit the site of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Back row left to right: Diane Musselmann, Roberto Barrera, Art Wilson. Front row: Dennis Joyner. Not pictured: Lois Pope, Gene Murphy, Allen Kent

Washington, D.C. – March 18, 2014 – Following its most recent site visit to inspect construction progress, and in consultation with general contractor Turner Construction Company, the Board of Directors of the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce that it has selected October 5, 2014 as the date for the dedication ceremony of the much-anticipated American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki have been invited to speak at this historic occasion, more than 15 years in the making. Actor Gary Sinise, National Spokesman of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, has confirmed his participation in the dedication ceremony.

“We are honored and thrilled to make this announcement today,” said Foundation President Arthur H. Wilson. “It’s been a long journey, but well worth the wait. At last we are in the home stretch of building a memorial to honor the countless veterans who became disabled in service to our country.”

“We are absolutely thrilled that this memorial — the nation’s first permanent tribute to the three million living disabled American Veterans and the thousands who have died — is about to become a magnificent reality,” said Lois Pope, the Florida philanthropist who serves as the Foundation’s chairman and who conceived the memorial nearly two decades ago. “This memorial will serve to remind all of us now, and for generations to come, about the human costs and sacrifices made in war.”

Unlike other national memorials, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial will pay tribute to disabled veterans both living and deceased across all conflicts throughout the nation’s history. The design of the Memorial, by the acclaimed firm Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, envisions a hallowed place amid the bustle of the surrounding Washington streets. Vergason’s design was meant expressly for its audience – disabled veterans, their loved ones, friends and caretakers – who will now have a place for commemoration and quiet reflection.

Through the juxtaposition of granite and glass, the design of the Memorial will convey the interplay of strength and vulnerability, loss and renewal. The focal point will be a star-shaped fountain, its surface broken only by a ceremonial flame. Water flows over the fountain’s perimeter into a large triangular reflecting pool that mirrors the ever-changing sky, time of day and cycle of the seasons. Three walls of laminated glass panels with embedded text and photographs, and four bronze sculptures by noted sculptor Larry Kirkland, display the universal story of disabled veterans’ pride of service, trauma of injury, challenge of healing and renewal of purpose.

The Memorial was unanimously authorized by Congress in 2000, and signed into law on October 24, 2000 by President Clinton. The 2.4-acre triangular site, located between Washington Avenue SW, C Street SW and Second Street SW, behind the U.S. Botanic Garden and within view of the U.S. Capitol, was approved in 2001. The final design was approved in 2009 and 2010 by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission respectively.

In addition to the dedication date, the Board of Directors also announced that the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel by Marriott will serve as the host hotel for the dedication event, with a special rate of $99 per night. The hotel is located at 999 Ninth Street, NW, Washington, D.C. For the special dedication rate, contact the hotel at 202-898-9000 and mention “American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial Room Block” or click to make a reservation online.

Major contributors to the Memorial include the Disabled American Veterans (DAV); Lois Pope; H. Ross Perot, Sr.; AT&T; Ford Motor Fund; Fifth Third Foundation; TriWest Healthcare Alliance; Gary Sinise Foundation; Kirkland & Ellis, LLP; Peter G. Peterson; Health Net Federal Services; numerous other Veterans Service Organizations including Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS; and more than one million individual donors.

The Memorial is located at 150 Washington Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. For more information about The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, visit The Dedication Ceremony is free and open to the public. For tickets to the dedication, visit



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