History & Heritage

History & Heritage: The country’s history starts with ours.

Holidays in the White House: First Family Traditions

Holidays at the White House are a family affair…with thousands of guests. Each December, the President and his family deck the White House’s halls and opens the doors for dozens of parties and public tours. It’s a big job to prepare the country’s most famous residence for a month of celebrations...

national Christmas tree lighting
Visiting the Jefferson Memorial

Where and what is the Jefferson Memorial? The location and architecture of the Jefferson Memorial make it stand out among DC’s amazing array of monuments and memorials . Designed by John Russell Pope in 1925, the memorial resembles the Pantheon in Rome, an adaptation of Neoclassical architecture...

Jefferson Memorial Lit Up at Night
11 Reasons to Check Out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Each summer, the National Mall plays host to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a massive, multiple-day celebration of international cultures. The 2016 edition (June 29 – July 4, July 7-10) features two themes: Basque: Innovation By Culture and Sounds of California . Read on to learn what...

Smithsonian Folklife Festival - Washington, DC
Visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

What is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and where is it? The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall pays tribute to the brave members of the U.S. Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War and were killed or missing in action. The memorial consists of three separate parts: The Three Soldiers...

Guide to Winter Holidays in Washington, DC

Visit Washington, DC during a winter holiday and you’ll find a wonderland of themed markets, activities for couples and families as well as monumental ceremonies honoring American history and heroes. Check out this guide to all the sights to see and things to do during the winter holidays...

christmas tree
Visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum & Renwick Gallery

Wander through three centuries of American art The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC is one of the largest and most expansive collections of American art in the world. The museum’s two locations, the main building in Penn Quarter and the Renwick Gallery in downtown , represent...

Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington, DC
Visiting the Washington National Cathedral

Stained-glass windows, Gothic spires and flying buttresses make the Washington National Cathedral look ages old, but the grand church was actually constructed during the 20th century. Though overseen by the Episcopal Church, the house of worship welcomes people of all faiths to its impressive site...

National Cathedral Exterior
Washington, DC Fun Facts for Kids

Presidential Pastimes George Washington never lived in DC. The White House was completed a year after he died and the second U.S. President, John Adams, was the first to live there. The statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square (directly across from the White House) was partially made from...

Washington, DC Fun Facts for Kids
Visiting the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

Where and what is the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial? The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is the first national memorial dedicated to the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. All 184 lives lost in the attack on the Pentagon are represented by “Memorial Unit” benches. Surrounding the...

pentagon memorial
7 Ways to Experience the Obamas’ Washington, DC

In addition to being the First Family of the United States, the Obamas are also big fans of Washington, DC, regularly getting out into the neighborhoods and on the National Mall . Local blogs and newspapers often report on unexpected date nights at a hot restaurant, a surprise visit to a boutique...

resident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk from Marine One on the South Lawn upon arrival at the White House following a trip to California, June 16, 2014