The National Museum of American History

Two weekends ago we made another visit to The National Museum of American History.  We were hoping to get there and visit the new Wegman’s Wonderplace which is aimed for children under 6 years of age.  We arrived at about 10:15am on a Sunday morning so only 15 minutes after opening and there was already a line of about 5 families in front of us.  As people leave, they let more in.  We gave Eilam the option of waiting in line and reading books that volunteers were passing out or venturing out into other areas of the museum.  Well, he really is not the stand around kind of kid, so off we went.  When we walked back over to that area about 30 minutes later the line was much, much longer.  It wrapped along the wall.  So we will try to visit another time.  The area looked like it had a lot of things for kids to play on (a house, a kitchen, boats, etc).

On this visit we spent a lot of time in American Enterprise exhibit.  There is a great interactive area of the exhibit in the back corner.  Eilam likes this area because there is a tractor.  It has you make various farming decisions and then presents you with the outcomes of your decisions.  There are other interactive business games as well.

 

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Photo from http://americanhistory.si.edu/

The Museum is three floors.  You enter to the second floor if entering from the Mall or the first if entering from Constitution Avenue.  The first floor east houses the Wegman’s Wonderplace, American Enterprise, the Value of Money (which you walk through a really great, big vault door) and the Spark Lab.  We have fun at the Spark Lab which is aimed for children ages 6 to 12.  There is a lot of hands-on activities incorporating science, technology, engineering and math.  While a little bit old for Eilam, he still likes watching us do the various projects.

On the west side of the first floor is a great exhibit America on the Move.  This is a fun place for kids as they have actual cars, trains, buses, motorcycles, etc to look at and see the evolution of transportation.  There is also the food exhibit, Lighting a Revolution, On the Water and Stories on Money.

The second and third floors are going through renovations on the east side but still have great exhibits on the west sides.  On the second floor is the Star Spangled Banner, American Stories (where you can see C3PO through February) and the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery.

The third floor houses the First Lady exhibit (with all the dresses), The American Presidency, the Gunboat Philadelphia and the Price of Freedom.  It is an interesting look at all of the wars that America has been involved in.

The National Museum of American History is a really great museum with activities and exhibit for people of all ages.  It has definitely become one of our favorites.  They have a lot of random event weekends throughout the year.  We visited the Holiday Festival weekend and learned how to make hot chocolate in colonial times.  I highly recommend this museum for any visitors or locals with children.

American History Museum

Where:  14th and Constitution on the National Mall

How to Get There:  Smithsonian Metro (Orange/blue/silver) when looking towards the Capitol building it is on the left side of the mall.

Cost:  FREE

 

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