Witness history taking place before your very eyes by traveling to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Witness the Oath of Office and hear the Presidential Inaugural Address firsthand. Attend the Inaugural Parade, and then enjoy an Inaugural Dance & Social with your friends!
Stand among fellow Americans as the newly sworn-in president gives his/her inaugural address to the country. Inaugural speeches are often a message from the president to the United States (and the rest of the world!) about what their goals for the country’s future are.
Watch the 45th President of the United States be sworn in on the Capitol steps at noon on January 20, 2017. The first inauguration of George Washington took place on April 30, 1789 in New York City. After the 20th Amendment was passed, the Inauguration date was formally moved to January 20th (or the 21st if the 20th falls on a Sunday). Typically the presidential oath of office is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, though the Constitution does not specifically mandate who should administer it. The Presidential Oath of Office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." —Presidential oath of office, Article II, Section 1, United States Constitution
Witness this customary occasion as the president, vice-president, their respective families and leading members of the government and military review the Inaugural Parade featuring both military and civilian participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The parade proceeds along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of an enclosed presidential reviewing stand located on the Front Lawn of the White House.
Have fun partying with your friends at an exclusive student celebration just like the first family. At your own Inaugural dance you’ll celebrate with music, dancing and refreshments. Experience the excitement and pageantry through this once-in-a-lifetime activity that one can only experience during the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.
Honor the nearly 300,000 brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. Take part in one of our country’s greatest traditions with the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Be inspired as you tour the political center of the U.S. government. Learn about the history of the legislative process and recognize the unique roles of the House and the Senate at the U.S. Capitol. Take a seat on the steps of the Supreme Court Building, where the highest federal court in the U.S. debates the most vital issues in American history. Prepare to be mesmerized by the collection of over 160 million items at the second largest library in the world. The Library of Congress holds millions of books, newspapers, photos, films, recordings, maps, and many other items from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages.
Take an enlightening tour of Embassy Row and learn about the people and the forces that have turned this district into one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city and the center of the foreign diplomatic community. Get a glimpse of the world in just two miles as you walk along Massachusetts, where there are more than 175 foreign embassies, residences, chanceries, and diplomatic missions. Wealth, power, intrigue, scandals, curses, and political assassination fill the stories on this entertaining tour.
Learn more about Franklin D. Roosevelt 12 pivotal years of presidency and the era he represents as you tour the 7.5-acre memorial. Visit a series of four outdoor gallery rooms that depict FDR's four terms in office. The rooms feature bronze sculptures depicting President Roosevelt and events from the Great Depression and World War II. Enjoy the memorial’s gardens animated by waterfalls, still pools, stone sculptures, and granite walls, where Roosevelt’s inspiring words are carved.
Explore this working theatre, historical monument, and world-class museum as you learn about President Abraham Lincoln’s life, the struggle for a united country, and the motivation behind Lincoln’s assassination. Tour Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln was shot and go to where he was carried across the street to the Petersen House, where he later died. The house features three rooms that are furnished in 1865 period pieces and two floors of exhibits addressing the immediate aftermath of Lincoln’s death and the evolution of Lincoln’s legacy.
As you visit this living memorial, learn about the unprecedented tragedy and reflect upon important moral questions raised by the events of the Holocaust— the persecution and murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jewish victims by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provides the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history through collections that contain more than 12,750 artifacts, 49 million pages of archival documents, 80,000 historical photographs, 200,000 registered survivors, 1,000 hours of archival footage, 84,000 library items, and 9,000 oral history testimonies. With unique power and authenticity, the museum teaches millions of visitors each year a powerful and important lesson to confront hatred and promote human dignity, and to respond to the monumental challenges that confront our world with a sense of moral responsibility.
Think about the inscription, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue”, while you explore this tribute to the U.S. Marines who died while serving our country during the Battle of Iwo Jima against the Japanese in February of 1945. The memorial is a 3-D replica of Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of soldiers raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Rosenthal’s piece is the most frequently reproduced photograph in history.
Be welcomed by a 19-foot bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson as you enter the open-air, white columned structure resembling the Roman Pantheon and Jefferson’s own design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Although Jefferson served in many capacities, the memorial is meant to reflect his diverse and plentiful accomplishments as the third U.S. President and the writer of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.
Pay tribute to those who answered the call to defend South Korea. The Mural Wall made of highly polished black granite contains more than 2,400 images sandblasted onto the wall, representing those who served and their equipment. Within the walled triangle, you will be inspired by the 19 larger-than-life-size stainless steel statues that represent a squad on patrol from each branch of the armed forces. At the Pool of Remembrance, which encircles a granite wall bearing the message “Freedom Is Not Free”, reflect on this message as you view the human cost of the war displayed by the number of soldiers who died, were wounded, captured, or missing in the Korean War.
Towering over the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall, this memorial honors Abraham Lincoln, the preservation of the Union, and human liberty and equality. Upon entering the memorial, climb the very steps that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on to give his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. As you enter, look up at the 19-foot tall statue of Lincoln sitting and looking out over the country he fought so hard to preserve and unite. The Lincoln Memorial has remained dedicated to its purpose in reminding us that we must always strive toward a united, equal, and free society.
Pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and honor one of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement. Upon entering through the Mountain of Despair, you’ll tour the four acre memorial as if moving through the struggle that Dr. King faced during his life. Look up at the 30-foot tall granite statue of King that is carved into the Stone of Hope. Surrounding the statue is a 450-foot long Inscription Wall, which features 14 soul-stirring quotes from his famous speeches, sermons, and writings. These words are sharply etched in stone to encourage all to strive for King’s four main principles: justice, democracy, hope, and love.
Explore an American landmark and an enduring tribute to George Washington. Mount Vernon is one of our nation’s most beloved historic sites offering a glimpse into our nation’s first president’s 18th-century life. Experience the historic estate nestled along the Potomac River that includes the Mount Vernon Mansion, colonial era buildings, beautiful gardens and grounds, pioneer farm, captivating museum exhibits and education center, and a working distillery and gristmill.
Be amazed as you tour the world’s largest and most significant collection of historic aircrafts and spacecrafts. The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is a research center in the history and science of aviation, spaceflight, planetary science, terrestrial geology, and geophysics. The museum operates two landmark facilities and welcomes over eight million visitors a year, making it the most visited museum in the United States. You’ll be inspired as you learn about and develop an appreciation for the historical importance of flight to humanity.
View the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, known collectively as the Charters of Freedom, which have secured the rights of the American people for more than two centuries. The National Archives Building is home to many important historical documents, collections of photography, and other culturally significant American artifacts. Encounter fascinating original documents, photos, maps, drawings, film and audio clips that are the fabric of our American democracy.
Observe thousands of the most significant works of art from the Middle Ages to the present. The Gallery has one of finest art collections in the world with over 141,000 works of art, including Vincent van Gogh’s Self-portrait, the largest mobile created by Alexander Calder, and Ginevra de’ Benci, the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas.
Explore the national treasures that form the greatest single collection of American history. From the War of Independence to the present day, each exhibit provides a significant theme in American culture and history. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History collects, preserves, studies, and displays items that reflect the heritage of the United States.
Enjoy one of the oldest zoos in the United States, as you visit about 1,800 animals from 300 different species at the National Zoo. About one-fifth of the animals at the zoo are endangered or threatened. See the zoo’s best known residents, the Giant Pandas! You can also visit several other great exhibits like the Cheetah Conservation Station, Elephant Trails, American Trail, Asia Trail, Amazonia, Reptile Discovery Center, Small Mammal House, Great Apes, Great Cats, and much more!
Feed tarantulas, examine the biggest blue diamond in the world, experience massive dinosaur fossils, majestic coral reef, remarkable Egyptian mummies, and so much more of the world’s largest and most visited natural history museum. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History has a collection of more than 127 million artifacts and specimens, and is also home to about 185 professional natural history scientists—the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world.
Take part in honoring the 184 victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks at the Pentagon. There is a unique teachable moment at the Pentagon Memorial to explain the events at the Pentagon on 9/11, the stories of the victims and heroes, the role of the Department of Defense and Pentagon, and how the United States and governments around the world are working together to prevent future attacks. The Pentagon Memorial is a place of solace and healing and a reminder to future generations to renew their faith in and commitment to the values that citizens of a free world share.
Honor those that fought in the Vietnam War as you visit The Three Servicemen bronze statue and walk along the 493-foot long Memorial Walls that are sunk into the ground to symbolically represent a wound that is closed and healing. As you look upon the gabbro wall, you’ll see your reflection simultaneously among more than 58,000 engraved names of service members of the U.S. armed forces who died or were unaccounted for during the Vietnam War. Take part in a ritual of many loved ones by placing a piece of paper over a name on the wall and rubbing a pencil over it as a memento.
Take in the incredible sights, both inside and out, as you tour this monument that honors America’s first president, George Washington. Standing at an impressive height of 555 feet, the Washington Monument is the defining feature of the Washington, D.C. skyline. Once the tallest building in the world, the monument still holds the title of the world’s tallest stone structure and obelisk. The view from the top gives visitors an unparalleled panorama of the nation’s capital.
Take your picture in front of the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Built from 1792-1800, the White House sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue symbolizing the relationship between our highest elected official and the citizens who elect him or her. One of the most famous buildings in the world and host to millions of visitors every year, the White House holds 132 rooms on six floors. Steeped in history, accumulated collections of residing presidents are throughout this living museum of American history and ever-changing historic structure.
As you tour the World War II Memorial you will recognize and honor the 16 million Americans who served, more than 400,000 who died, and celebrate the victory they achieved to restore freedom and end tyranny around the globe. The memorial consists of 56 granite pillars, a pair of triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, and The Freedom Wall. The Freedom Wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people.