Museums teach us about our past to better inform us about our present and future. Here’s an update on some unique and interesting museum tours that you’re sure to enjoy.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets Tour
Mt. Vernon Estate
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Alexandria, VA 22309
This is a fun and interesting look at the Mt. Vernon estate, considered America’s most frequented historic home. If you loved the movie “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” you might enjoy this guided tour which goes behind the scenes where the movie was filmed on the estate, and also shows how America’s first President, George Washington, used those same locations during his lifetime. This creative outdoor tour lasts about 60 minutes.
Brewmaster’s Castle Museum Tour
Heurich House Museum
1307 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Sometimes referred to as the “Brewmaster’s Castle,” The Heurich House Museum is a place that you don’t hear much about, and is one of Dupont Circle’s best-kept historic secrets. A tour of the museum allows you to be transported back to the Victorian era–the home is one of the most intact Victorian houses in America, and is a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Scheduled public guided tours occur Thursday through Saturday, and are limited and secured by reservation. Tours for 10 or more visitors are available by appointment. The home belonged to the “world’s oldest brewer,” Christian Heurich, who was a philanthropist, local brewer and once the largest private employer in the District. He ran his brewing company until his death at 102 years old. Heurich House is the city’s first fireproof residence.
Frederick Douglass Museum
320 A St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Guided tours of the Frederick Douglass Museum really give you a close-up look into the life and very first home of this abolitionist, writer and statesman. Located in Capitol Hill, the restored edifice contains exhibits on Douglass, as well as memorabilia, photos and art. The museum also functions as a tribute to other caring Americans who demonstrate the same humanitarian spirit that Douglass embodied. Tours are scheduled by appointment.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Old Stone House
1914 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23223
Established in 1922, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum at the Old Stone House is home to the world’s largest collection of the author’s original manuscripts, letters, belongings and memorabilia. Perhaps as ironic as the events in some of Poe’s stories is the fact that he never lived in this home, but it is used as a museum to celebrate the time that he spent living in Richmond. Visitors should call ahead for times of guided tours, otherwise visits are self-guided. Old Stone House was constructed in 1750 and is the oldest original building in the city. It is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Independence Ave. at 6th St. S.W.
Washington, DC 20560
This is that cool museum where you can actually touch a lunar rock. Considered the most visited museum in the United States, the Air and Space Museum holds the world’s largest collection of aviation and space artifacts, art and other archival materials. If it has anything to do with human flight, this is the place to find it. The museum offers free 90-minute daily guided tours which leave from its Welcome Center and spotlight the museum’s extensive collection as well as chronicle the history of air and space travel. If you meet certain minimum group counts, you can reserve a tour, which may require up to three weeks of advance notice.
Kevin Don Porter is the author of OVER THE EDGE and MISSING—two mysteries available on Amazon.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com..