Visit Washington, DC! Hotel and travel tips for visiting Washington, DC Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Washington DC Metro Weekend Track Work Information for October 17-19, 2014 Thu, 16 Oct 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:

“This weekend, Orange, Silver, Blue, Green and Yellow line trains will run every 16 minutes, rather than every 12 minutes. On the Red Line, buses will replace trains between Rhode Island Ave and Silver Spring stations on Saturday and Sunday only.


Orange Line 

Trains every 16 minutes

Orange Line trains will operate every 16 minutes throughout the weekend. Normal service is every 12 minutes.

Work Performed:
Platform rehabilitation, rail tie, fastener, insulator and grout pad renewal between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly.

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.


Red Line

Buses replace trains between Rhode Island Ave and Silver Spring stations

Red Line trains will operate as follows from 12:01 a.m. Saturday through closing Sunday:

  • Between Shady Grove & Rhode Island Ave: every 10 minutes 9AM-9PM, regular intervals at other times
  • Between Silver Spring & Glenmont: every 10 minutes 9AM-9PM, regular intervals at other times

Stations Closed:
Brookland, Fort Totten (Red Line platform) & Takoma

Last Train Time Change:
The last Red Line train of the night from Glenmont to Silver Spring will depart 40 minutes earlier than normal to allow for shuttle bus connections. On Friday and Saturday nights, the last train will leave Glenmont at 1:57 a.m. On Sunday, the last train will leave Glenmont at 10:57 p.m.

Free shuttle buses will replace Red Line trains between Rhode Island Ave & Silver Spring. Shuttle buses will operate on two routes:

  • Express buses will operate between Rhode Island Avenue and Silver Spring with no intermediate stops. Please add up to 25 minutes of travel time.
  • Local buses will operate between Rhode Island Ave and Silver Spring, making intermediate stops at Brookland, Fort Totten and Takoma. Please allow 15 minutes of travel time for each station stop.

Work Performed:
Cable replacement and rail tie renewal between Rhode Island Avenue and Silver Spring stations

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.
  • If traveling between Fort Totten and Downtown DC, use the Green Line as an alternate.
  • 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

Trains every 16 minutes

Silver Line trains will operate every 16 minutes throughout the weekend to coordinate train schedules with track work on other lines. Normal service is every 12 minutes.


Blue Line

Trains every 16 minutes

Blue Line trains will operate every 16 minutes throughout the weekend to coordinate train schedules with track work on other lines. Normal service is every 12 minutes.


Yellow Line

Trains every 16 minutes between Huntington & Mt. Vernon Sq only

Yellow Line trains will operate every 16 minutes throughout the weekend. Normal service is every 12 minutes. 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.

L’Enfant Plaza Boarding Location Changes:

  • On Friday evening and all day Saturday, all passengers will board trains on the Huntington platform.
  • On Sunday, all passengers will board trains on the Mt Vernon Sq platform.

Work Performed:
Annual inspection of the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River


Green Line

Trains every 16 minutes

Green Line trains will operate every 16 minutes throughout the weekend. Normal service is every 12 minutes.

L’Enfant Plaza Boarding Location Changes:

  • On Friday evening and all day Saturday, all passengers will board trains on the Greenbelt platform.
  • On Sunday, all passengers will board trains on the Branch Ave platform.

Work Performed:
Rail joint elimination between L’Enfant Plaza and Navy Yard for a smoother ride.


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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October 2014 Programs at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Tue, 30 Sep 2014 02:34:05 +0000 October 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

American Art: After and Before
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 1pm
Join us in the gallery where we will discuss a featured artwork after it has received treatment by our conservators. Then continue on to the Lunder Conservation Center for a behind-the scenes look at the way our staff applies 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:

Exploring Castle – Panel Discussion
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:30pm
Exhibition curator Nicholas Bell and other experts explore artist James Castle’s remarkable life and artistic vision.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Seeing Through Paintings: An Insider’s View – Conservation Talk
Monday, October 6, 2014, 6pm
Authors and painting conservators Andrea Kirsh and Rustin Levenson show how the physical attributes of an artwork can illuminate historical and social issues as discussed in their book, Seeing through Paintings: Physical Examinations in Art Historical Studies.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Modern Art Conversations- Guided Looking
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6pm
Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum for gallery talks focused on modern and contemporary art, led by a museum educator.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lincoln Gallery, Third Floor
Event Link:

Art Signs: ASL Gallery Talks
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 5:30 pm
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 5:30pm
Join us for gallery conversations about artworks presented by an ASL (American Sign Language) gallery guide.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lincoln Gallery, Meet in F Street Lobby
Event Link:

Exhibition Opening: Richard Estes’ Realism
Friday, October 10, 2014
Richard Estes is considered the foremost practitioner of the international group of artists known loosely as photorealists and has been celebrated for more than forty-five years as the premier painter of American cityscapes. Richard Estes’ Realism is the most comprehensive exhibition of Estes’ paintings ever organized.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Exhibition Link:

An Evening with Estes
Friday, October 10, 2014, 6pm
Join co-curator and scholar Patterson Sims for a presentation about the life and work of
Richard Estes, one of the most acclaimed American realist painters working today, followed by a conversation and question-and-answer session with the artist.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Fall Family Festival
Saturday, October 11, 2014, 11:30am-3pm
Celebrate the changing seasons with stilt walkers, ghost stories, and a performance by the Banjo Man, Frank Cassel. Enjoy fall-themed craft activities or a scavenger hunt to find autumn scenes in the museum’s galleries.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
Event Link:

Craft Activism: Author Talk and Book Signing
Monday, October 20, 2014, 5:30pm
Join artists and authors Betsy Greer, Leanne Prain, and Kim Werker and moderator Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, as they discuss the intersection of craft, creativity, and activism. Book signing follows.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, Third floor
Tickets: Free, register online at
Event Link:

James Castle: Draw and Discover! With Nicholas Bell
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 2:30-4:30pm
Learn about artist James Castle’s innovative techniques from exhibition curator Nicholas Bell at this special sketching session in the exhibit Untitled: The Art of James Castle. Bring a small sketchbook and pencils.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Event Link:

Clarice Smith Lecture with New York Magazine Art Critic Jerry Saltz
Wednesday, October 22, 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. Art critic Jerry Saltz of New York Magazine will be speaking on A Year in the Life of an Art Critic: The Good, the Bad and the Very Bad.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, Third Floor
Event Link:

Artist Gallery Talk with James Prosek
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 6pm
Join us for a gallery talk with artist James Prosek as he installs his mural at the entrance of The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art in advance of the exhibition opening.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Exhibition entrance, Third Floor
Event Link:

Luce Artist Talk with Leslie Berns and Shelley Warren
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 1:30pm
Local mixed media artists Leslie Berns and Shelly Warren discuss a work in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection and why it resonates with them. 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:

Artist Talk with Richard Jolley and Tommie Rush
Sunday October 26, 2014, 2pm
The James Renwick Alliance presents their Distinguished Artist Talk of 2014. Husband-and-wife artists Richard Jolley and Tommie Rush create intensely colored glass pieces. Jolley, globally known for figurative sculpture, and Rush, known for vessels, discuss their partnership in work and life.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Exhibition Opening – The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art
Friday, October 31, 2014
The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art examines mankind’s relationship to birds and the natural world through the eyes of twelve contemporary American artists, including David Beck, Rachel Berwick, Lorna Bieber, Barbara Bosworth, Joann Brennan, Petah Coyne, Walton Ford, Paula McCartney, James Prosek, Laurel Roth Hope, Fred Tomaselli, and Tom Uttech.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Exhibition Link:



Steinway Series with Sean Chen
Sunday, October 12, 2014, 3pm
Pianist Sean Chen, the 2013 recipient of the American Pianists Association’s DeHaan Classical Fellowship, performs music of Scriabin and Ravel composed between 1900 and 1914, a period he describes as being “between the ‘good old days’ and the rapid onslaught of modernity.”
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Tickets: Free tickets available at 2:30pm in G Street Lobby
Event Link:

Luce Unplugged Community Showcase
Friday, October 24, 2014, 6-8pm
Explore the artworks in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Center while listening to sets by up-and-coming local bands, selected with the help of the Washington City Paper’s managing editor, Jonathan L. Fischer. Drinks and snacks available for purchase from a cash bar. Presented with the Washington City Paper.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, Third Floor
Event Link:

21st Century Consort presents Aviary
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 5pm
The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s ensemble-in-residence celebrates the exhibition The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art with flights of musical imagination. From contemporary transcriptions of avian-obsessed music from the fourteenth century to bird-inspired works of the last 100 years, it’s a musical tribute to birds of all feathers!
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium
Event Link:

Film: Courtyard Movie Palace: Man with Movie Camera
Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 7pm
We’re creating a pop-up theater at American Art and the Portrait Gallery! In this fast-paced, playful, and artfully crafted silent film, Soviet director Dziga Vertov captures a dusk-to-dawn portrait of Russian urban life, celebrating its citizenry and machinery. Man with a Movie Camera (1929, 68 min.) is part documentary, part avant-garde experiment. Snacks and beverages available for purchase in the Courtyard Café. Jointly presented by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.
Location: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
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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October 2014 Events at the National Building Museum Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:02:02 +0000 October 2014 Events and Exhibits at the National Building Museum in Washington DC

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

National Building Museum


Tuesday, October 7, 10 am–Noon
Book of the Month: Rain School by James Rumford
Readings at 10:30 and 11:30 am.
Free with admission to Building Zone.
Recommended for ages 3–5.
Thomas is ready to start school in his village in Africa, but there are no classrooms or desks. This delightful book will show us how Thomas and his classmates build their own school.

Talks & Tours

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

Tuesday, October 7, 6:30–8 pm
Spotlight on Design: Robert A.M. Stern
$12 Museum | $12 Student | $20 Non-member.
RAMSA founder and senior partner Robert A.M. Stern presents a history of the garden suburb in conjunction with the recent publication of Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City (The Monacelli Press, 2013), which he co-authored with David Fishman and Jacob Tilove. The book is the definitive history of the garden suburb from its origin in late-18th-century England to the onset of World War II, and suggests how the principles of traditional town planning can inform efforts to remedy fraying urban fabric and suburban sprawl in our own time. A book signing follows the talk.
1.5 LU HSW (AIA) / 1.5 CM (AICP) / 1.5 PDH (LA CES)

Sunday, October 12, 8 pm and 9 pm
Friday, October 17, 8 pm and 9 pm
Sunday, October 19, 8 pm and 9 pm
Tuesday, October 28, 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.

Thursday, October 16, 8:30 am–4:30 pm
Conference: How Housing Matters
Free. Pre-registration required.
The How Housing Matters conference explores the importance of having stable, affordable housing to education, health, and aging. Key leaders, researchers, practitioners, and advocates discuss practical and cross-platform solutions with local, state, and federal policymakers.
8.0 LU HSW (AIA) / 8.0 CM (AICP) / 8.0 PDH (LA CES)

Thursday, October 16
Museum Closed
Please note that the Museum will be closed due to the How Housing Matters conference.

Saturday, October 18, 11 am–2 pm
Home Movie Day
Free. Drop-in program.
See films from local institutions, share your own films, learn how to save them for future generations, and play Home Movie Day bingo. All formats: 8mm, Super 8, 16mm, and video. Home Movie Day at the Museum is presented in connection with the exhibition House & Home.

Monday, October 20, 12:30–2 pm
Smart Growth: Cities versus Natural Disasters: Retreat or Resist?
Free. Pre-registration required.
Franklyn Cater, NPR Cities Project editor, facilitates a panel conversation examining how cities are managing their built environments in the face of increasing natural disasters and rising waters caused by climate change. The panel includes portions of on-air stories from the Cities Project that prompt a discussion on whether cities retreat from or stand against the effects of a changing climate. This program complements the exhibition Designing for Disaster.
1.5 LU HSW (AIA) / 1.5 CM (AICP) / 1.5 PDH (LA CES)

Tuesday, October 21, 12:30–1:30 pm
Talk and Book Signing: designPOP
Free. Pre-registration required.
Lisa S. Roberts, high-design promoter and connoisseur, presents her new book designPOP (Rizzoli, 2014), featuring game-changing international products designed since the year 2000. Included during the talk is a special screening of her TV series, My Design Life. A book signing follows the talk. This program complements the exhibition House & Home.
1.0 LU HSW (AIA) / 0.1 CEU (IDCEC)

Wednesday, October 22, 6:30–8 pm
Talk: Fire Island Modernist
$12 Member | $12 Student | $20 Non-member.
Between 1961 and 1981, Horace Gifford (1932–92) designed beach homes on New York’s Fire Island that reflected the “oasis of free love” of the pre-AIDS, post-Stonewall era. Christopher Rawlins, principal of New York-based Rawlins Design and author of Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction (Metropolis Books, 2013) chronicles the life of this largely-forgotten, complex architect whose body of work stands for a lost generation. A book signing follows the lecture. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition House & Home, which is open to program attendees prior to the lecture.
1.5 LU HSW (AIA)

Monday, October 27, 6:30–8 pm
Film Screening: This Time Next Year
$10 Member | $10 Student | $12 Non-member.
This Time Next Year (Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman, 2014) tracks the resilience of Long Beach Island, New Jersey for one year as residents rebuild following Hurricane Sandy. Using a mixture of verité film-making, first-person accounts, and the residents’ own footage, This Time Next Year is a documentation of a shore community battling local politics, coping with personal tragedy, and banding together in the face of transition.
1.5 LU HSW (AIA)

Wednesday, October 29, 9:30 am–Noon
American Institute of Certified Planners Symposium: Housing Equity and Healthy Housing Choices
$12 Museum, APA & AICP Members | $12 Student | $20 Non-member.
Housing—or the lack of it—can affect individual and public health in many ways, from expanding or limiting access to jobs to influencing family and social cohesion. This year’s AICP Symposium explores emerging policy, planning, and funding strategies that promote equitable housing options in urban neighborhoods. Case studies highlight innovative approaches at the local, regional, and national levels. Panelists include Carol Payne, director of the Baltimore Field Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Derel Hyra, associate professor at American University; and Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing.
2.5 LU HSW (AIA) / 2.5 CM (AICP) / 2.5 PDH (LA CES)


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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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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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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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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