Best Places to Learn About Washington, D.C. History

September 10, 2016 2:00 PM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Aside from being the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is famous for numerous historical landmarks, monuments and venues that cater to knowledge seekers of American history. From history in the making to history of the past, D.C. is the best place to come for an overall crash course on the United States. But like any other city, D.C. also has a lot of local history that often gets overshadowed by the many overall encompassing American history themed attractions. If you’d like to learn more about the City’s own unique local past, here are some great places to stop in at as you make your rounds.
Historical Society
Carnegie Library
801 K St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 249-3955

There’s no better place to begin your quest for D.C. history than with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Headquartered at Mt. Vernon’s Carnegie Library, this is the place to go for extensive community research. Explore current exhibits and constantly changing features. There are also events held regularly, conferences, special programs and guided tours for visitors.

National Archives Museum
700 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20408
(866) 272-6272

The holdings of National Archives serve as the epitome of American history. Here you will find the Constitution, Bill of Rights and, of course, the Declaration of Independence. Various exhibits, both permanent and temporary, are also on display here along with the Boeing Learning Center and William G. McGowan Theater. The museum is open to the public seven days a week and also conducts guided group tours that are available by reservation. Learn all about American history and crucial D.C.-related facts as preserved in some of the nation’s most vital historical documents, preserved on pages.

Library of Congress
Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First St., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540
(202) 707-8000

As the official library holding system for the United States, this second-largest library collection in the world boasts holdings in a wide array of different materials and formats. The collection spans three buildings in D.C. along with one at Packard Campus in Culpeper. Visitors can come out and explore seemingly endless topics by subject, including local and regional heritage and culture. Guided tours are also offered in the Jefferson Building, covering art, history and architecture of the grounds as well as tours and other activities on specific exhibits and topics.

Related: Best Historical Tours In Washington DC

Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place, S.E.
Washington, DC 20020
(202) 633-4820

The surrounding community of Anacostia represents one of the first existing suburban neighborhoods in D.C. Established as Uniontown in the 1850 as a working class neighborhood, it has become a true representation and reflection of D.C. culture, past and present. The museum opened in 1967 as the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, further allowing visitors and locals alike a place to come for an exploratory look into D.C.’s unique blend of history. The museum presents special programs and activities regularly, in addition to providing tours and showcasing various exhibits.

History Matters, LLC
1502 21st St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 223-8845

Headquartered in D.C.’s Dupont Circle, History Matters is the place to come for any extensive research needs regarding regional history and heritage. Clients seek out History Matters for, quite literally, all “history matters.” This includes nominating local sites and sources for the National Register of Historic Places. The dedicated team assists in detailed research and even case studies and thorough investigations on land and sites. They use maps, photographs, drawings and other historical notations and records connected to whatever it is a client may seek to learn more about.

Related: 5 Historical Facts You Didn’t Know About Washington, D.C.

Laura Catherine Hermoza has a lifelong love for writing. In addition to serving as a contributor to various media publications, she is also a published novelist of several books and works as a proofreader/editor. LC resides in Baltimore County.