Digital Tours of Our Nation’s Capital
Virtual Washington, DC
by Melissa Clifton
The power of travel is transformative. Over and over, we learn how a class trip to Washington, DC was the light bulb moment, the catalyst, the spark for students who have gone on to accomplish great things. While we anxiously await the ability to resume travel and the operations of our tours, we are fortunate to have online access to some of the most impactful tour sites that have inspired these students.
We have compiled a list of digital tours and virtual experiences of some of our favorite places in and around Washington, DC. These sites best tell the story of our ancestors' sacrifices and the founding of our great nation. While the true experience can never be fully conveyed digitally, we know this experience will still be impactful for students. We hope this will be a fun and educational resource for those who have had to cancel their tour or for those who have had to postpone their class trip.
The Capitol Building
This interactive map from the architect of the Capitol is rich with historical information, behind the scenes videos and clickable content. Pro tip: Check out the "Guided Tours" tab, and start with ‘Explore the Capitol Grounds’ for a complete educational tour of the Capitol.
Self-Guided Exploration of The White House
Did you know that YOU can walk around inside the White House right now!?! From your computer that is. Now that Google Street View offers interior building tours, you can drag the orange man onto any area of the White House to get your own 360 degree custom tour! Explore the rooms you’ve always heard about. Pro tip: Click the “0” and “1” on the lower right to quickly go to the next floor without using the stairs!
Library of Congress
Take an online, informative tour through the buildings that house the history of the written word in America. Pro tip: Click on the Thomas Jefferson Building and select the "Main Reading Room" in the left navigation column to view the magnificent architecture of this famous room.
FAMOUS LANDMARKS & MEMORIALS
Take a virtual tour through the National Archives, home of the most important founding documents of the United States of America: The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
Ford’s Theatre and The Petersen House
Step back in time to April 14, 1865, the night John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln with a click-through, behind-the-scenes tour of this National Historic Site and working theatre.
Mount Vernon- Former home of George Washington
This amazing site offers clickable trivia in one of the most famous homes in the US. Explore the secrets of George Washington’s home as you examine objects, rooms, building techniques and anything that catches your eye on a digital stroll around this famous home, or opt to watch the video tours for a visit from a famous tour guide.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Explore a 360-degree view of this inspiring monument using Google Maps. Click through to view iconic quotes and the beautiful landscape that surrounds this moving depiction of a great leader in the peak of Cherry Blossom season.
The Lincoln Memorial
Interact with the Lincoln Memorial in a new way! This virtual tour provides videos and clickable, interactive 3-D panoramic views to enhance your learning of the history while you are digitally immersed in this iconic memorial.
Arlington National Cemetery
Take in the splendor of this hallowed place from the comfort of your home with 360-degree views of John F. Kennedy’s Gravesite and the Eternal Flame, the US Coast Guard Memorial, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the final resting place of so many of our nation’s heroes.
National Museum of Natural History
Fossils, ancient Egyptian artifacts and the Hope Diamond are only a few reasons to check out this tour of one of the most diverse museums on the National Mall.
National Air and Space Museum
Mission Control: Navigate your way through an interactive tour of the famous National Air and Space Museum. Don’t miss the Spirit of Saint Louis, the Wright brothers’ plane, the Apollo Lunar Module, and other ‘Milestones of Flight.’
National Museum of African American History & Culture
Go on a virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Look around this incredible museum as you click through, learning the history of it’s foundations and the cultural significance of this magnificent museum.