Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Washington DC
Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Named for the country’s first president, Washington, District of Columbia (DC) is not actually a state, instead being categorised as a territory. The area was set aside in 1790 to serve as the capital of the federal government, carved out of land formerly belonging to Maryland and Virginia. The site was chosen both for its position between the southern and northern states but also because of its accessibility to both the eastern seaboard and the western interior. Washington DC contains many important federal buildings, including the White House and the Capitol building, as well as many museums. The area’s history has not always been peaceful; the British sacked it in the War of 1812, while many battles of the American Civil War took place nearby.

Archaeology & History Sites in Washington DC

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

A giant in African American history, Frederick Douglass was born into slavery but escaped and became one of the most prominent abolitionists of the 19th century. This historic site in Anacostia preserves Cedar Hill, the house where Douglass lived for the last two decades of his life. The house is now decorated as it would when Douglass lived there, with period features and furnishings throughout each room. Access is by guided tour only.

World War II Memorial

Located in the National Mall, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial was inaugurated on 29 May in 2004. The monument honours all American citizens, civilian and military, who were involved in the Second World War, including the 405,399 Americans who lost their lives. Make sure to find the two hidden ‘Kilroy was here’ engravings. Near this impressive monument is the World War II Memorial information centre.

Museums & Art Galleries in Washington DC

National Museum of the American Indian

Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian opened in a purpose-built structure in 2004. Its collection focuses on the heritage and lifeways of Native American populations from across the U.S., much assembled earlier in the 20th century by a New York collector. The museum continues to work closely with Native communities for the preservation and presentation of their heritage. Entry to the museum is free.