Taking a trip to the capital of the United States can really help students get a feel for the history of America. Visiting the buildings that make history and the documents that are history makes the facts and figures come to life.

Step Back Into History

There are many buildings that have played a big part in America’s history as well as documents that are the foundation of American politics. Capitol Hill is home to the Senate and House office buildings, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court amongst other important political buildings. The White House has been home and office to every US President since John Adams and was built from sandstone painted white in the late 1790s. The Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument are testimony to the respect for and importance that the America people place on their political history. The Lincoln Memorial is 190 feet long and nearly 100 feet high with engravings of the 16th President’s most important speeches such as the Gettysburg address.

School Trips to Washington DCGet A Close Up To The Past

The National Archives Experience is home to many important documents including original copies of the three main documents involved in the formation of the USA, that is the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. It also houses a copy of the 1297 Magna Carta which was confirmed by Edward I, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. Studying these documents close up can allow students to get a feeling of it actually happening rather than just being a story. The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846 by Congress and looks after the majority of Washington DC galleries and museums and as it is government funded most of these are free to the public.

Satisfy Your Creative Side

Washington DC is a national arts center, with the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts which is home to the Washington Ballet, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. Ford’s Theater, the location of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination still functions as a theater as well as an historic site. The country’s oldest professional musical organization is the United States Marine Band which was founded in 1798 and is housed in the Marine Barracks near Capitol Hill.

Gaze At Some Art In A Gallery

There are many, varied galleries in Washington DC. High school trips will find Asian and American art collected by Charles Lang Freer and displayed to the public in the Freer Gallery of Art. Portraits of all sorts of people important to US history can be found in the National Portrait gallery which is housed in one of Washington’s oldest public buildings dating back to 1836. The Phillips Collection houses modern art pieces and the Corcoran Gallery of Art is specifically intended to aid learning in all subjects through art, so there really is a gallery for everyone on school trips to Washington DC.

Whatever a class of students is studying, Washington DC can provide genuine historic experiences and inspiration to help them learn to the best of their potential.


This post was contributed by Molly Parkin. Molly is a teacher who writes regularly on the subject of high school trips including school trips to Washington DC and other US cities for travel blogs and websites. She is now retired and living in Cheshire with three dogs and some chickens.

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