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Free Things to Do: Events, Festivals & More in Washington, DC

Free summer concerts with Jazz in the Garden - Free Things to Do: Events, Festivals and More in Washington, DC

Whenever you’re in Washington, DC, you can plan on enjoying plenty of museum exhibits, events and festivals for free, guaranteed.

With access to free museums, the monuments and memorials, the Library of Congress and more, Washington, DC is unrivaled for its many free attractions. But at any given time, you can also take advantage of free one-of-a-kind events, groundbreaking exhibits and unique festivals, making DC the capital of free events.

Check out the list below for some of the latest free happenings creating buzz around the city.

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'Hamlet' Free For All at Shakespeare Theatre Company from July 10-21

Free For All: ‘Hamlet’ – Through July 21
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Free For All offers two weeks of free performances of a Shakespearean classic. This year, the legendary Hamlet will be staged. Set in a modern surveillance state version of Denmark, Hamlet arrives home to find his father dead, his mother remarried and his uncle on the throne. Once his father’s ghost appears seeking vengeance, the wheels are set in motion for a tragedy. Free For All tickets can be obtained via an online lottery. Tickets are also distributed at Sidney Harman Hall starting two hours before each performance (200 total).
Enter Ticket Lottery
Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Rirkrit Tiravanija Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green - Free Smithsonian exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC

Rirkrit Tiravanija: ‘Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green’ – Through July 24
For the first time, the Hirshhorn Museum will present the works of contemporary Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. The exhibit will turn the Hirshhorn’s galleries into a communal dining space where visitors can enjoy curry and share a meal. A large-scale mural that will reference protests against Thai government policies will be drawn on the walls over the course of the exhibition. Documentary shorts from Thailand’s leading independent filmmaker curated exclusively for the Hirshhorn will also be shown throughout.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue & 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Band Performing at the Capital Fringe Festival at the Logan Fringe Art Space - Summer Festivals in Washington, DC

Capital Fringe Festival – Through July 28
During the edgy Capital Fringe Festival, you can catch out-there performances from local creatives, including improv dramas, live music performances, film screenings and much more. Events take place throughout the Southwest Waterfront, including at the illustrious Arena Stage and inside local churches. Get your tickets and check out the full schedule on the festival’s website.
Citywide

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'A Glimpse of Ancient Yemen' at the Freer | Sackler Gallery on the National Mall - Free art museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘A Glimpse of Ancient Yemen’ – Through Aug. 18
Located in the Sackler Gallery, this exhibit highlights south Arabia (now known as Yemen) and its prosperous trading during ancient times. Aromatics such as frankincense and myrrh came from the region to Greece, Rome and Persia, which in turn spread artistic and cultural traditions in Arabia. The exhibit features objects that were retrieved from the region in the early 1950s, painting a detailed picture of an ancient metropolis.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Freer|Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975 - Free museum exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC

‘Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975’ – Through Aug. 18
The United States was at war in Vietnam and at home from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s. This exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum offers nearly 100 works from 58 of the most prominent artists of the time period, including pieces by African-American and female artists, who are often left out of surveys of the era. You will see brilliant creative minds wrestling with the debate over the war as well as class and social issues that caused cultural wars all over America. Artists Respond is presented in conjunction with Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today - Fall art and museum exhibits in Washington, DC

‘Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today’ – Through Aug. 18
The self-portrait has taken on entirely new life in recent years, with the rise of “selfies” and the constantly evolving notion of identity. The National Portrait Gallery will draw mostly from its large collection to showcase how artists have portrayed themselves since the beginning of the 20th century, showing the importance of self-portraiture in American history and culture. More than 75 works will be displayed, including portraits by Diego Rivera, Edward Hopper, Elaine de Kooning, Josef Albers and many more.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th & F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@acraftymitch - Free art exhibit at the National Gallery of Art East Building on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘The Life of Animals in Japanese Art’ – Through Aug. 18
Representations of animals—real and imaginary, religious and secular—span the full breadth and splendor of Japanese art. The first exhibition devoted to this subject covers 315 works from 16 centuries showcased in a whopping 18,000 feet of display space inside the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. Artists represented include Murakami Takashi, Nara Yoshimoto, Kusama Yayoi and many more. The exhibit opens Sunday and runs through Aug. 18.
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. 
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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Friends at Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden - Free Outdoor Summer Concert in Washington, DC

Jazz in the Garden – Through Aug. 23
Kick back and groove to the music with sangria in hand at Jazz in the Garden on Fridays throughout the summer, held in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden starting May 17. An eclectic mix of DC area jazz musicians lend a soundtrack to one of the city’s most idyllic scenes set around the sculpture garden’s central fountain. This is a free seasonal tradition that you do not want to miss. Check out the lineup and the food and drink offerings.
5-8:30 p.m.
National Gallery of Art, 6th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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Friday night summer concert at The Yards Park on the Capitol Riverfront - Family-friendly things to do in Washington, DC

Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series – Through Aug. 30
Take in river views, food, brews and tunes during Capitol Riverfront’s free Friday Night Concert Series in The Yards. There’s plenty of green space for you and yours to stretch out as you groove to music and savor summer-time vibes. Expect a wide range of musical acts, from jazz to country to folk rock to reggae.
7-9 p.m. 
The Yards, 355 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

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DinoRoars exhibit at the Smithsonian National Zoo - Free things to do this summer in Washington, DC

‘DinoRoars’ – Through Aug. 31
Smithsonian’s National Zoo is hosting a Dino Summer of prehistoric proportions. The DinoRoars installation, which opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 31, features animatronic dinosaurs positioned throughout the Zoo, from a baby stegosaurus to a fully grown tyrannosaurus rex. Take your own safari to see these jaw-dropping creatures move and roar. See below for the corresponding theater show at the Zoo.
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Smithsonian’s National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

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Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue at the Smithsonian American Art Museum - Free art exhibit in Washington, DC

‘Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue’ – Through Sept. 2
Tiffany Chung is a multimedia mastermind, and this installation at the Smithsonian American Art Museum looks to be a masterpiece. Chung’s father fought alongside American forces during the Vietnam War, and her family came to the U.S. during the post-war exodus from the country. Past Is Prologue features video interviews, photos, watercolors, texts and hand-drawn maps that reveal the jaw-dropping scale of the war and its still-echoing impact, all gathered by Chung through painstaking research. The exhibit will paint a riveting portrait of how one war drastically re-shaped contemporary society.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004

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@teamgrayduck - Outside the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum at the Sculpture Garden - Free modern art museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release’ – Through Sept. 2
The largest U.S. museum survey of Enrico David’s work comes to the Hirshhorn Museum. The Italian artist works in a variety of media, including works on paper, paintings, installations and sculptures. Many of his pieces focus on the human form and its gradually shifting and evolving nature, evidenced by the title of the exhibit and his incredible sculpture of the same name. The Hirshhorn’s Second Level inner-circle serves as the perfect space to display David’s challenging works.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue SW & 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20560

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In the Library: Pageantry and Pyrotechnics in the European Fete Book - Exhibit at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington, DC

'In the Library: Pageantry and Pyrotechnics in the European Fete Book' – Through Sept. 6
The National Gallery of Art’s In the Library series turns its attention to fireworks. Yep, fireworks! Fete books, also known as festival books, will show how fireworks displays evolved throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, which coincided with artists attempting to capture these magnificent events. Visitors will learn how rulers projected power through pyrotechnics and how technology and artistry of the demonstrations increased over time.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday 
National Gallery of Art, 4th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565

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@emilygoesplaces - Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden plaza - Free modern art museum in Washington, DC

‘The Evidence Room’ – Through Sept. 8
This installation at the Hirshhorn uses architectural forensic evidence to provide a stunning visual testament to the horrors of the Holocaust. With information gathered from correspondence, photographs, blueprints and eyewitness accounts, The Evidence Room features three architectural reconstructions and 65 plaster casts that explore the role that architecture played in history’s greatest atrocity. The Hirshhorn’s presentation marks this installation’s premiere in the U.S.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran at the Freer | Sackler Gallery on the National Mall - Free art museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran’ – Through September
Pottery was an art form in ancient Iran, where waterfowl and rams with curled horns roamed. Ceramics of the time showcase potters using distinct shapes and decorations in their experiments with clay, indicating that even utilitarian pieces could be turned into works of art. The exhibit will feature jars, bowls and other ceramics that dare as far back as 5,200 BCE.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Freer|Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@ray.payys - Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall - Free Museum in Washington, DC

‘Nature’s Best Photography’ – Through September
Make your way to the second floor of the National Museum of Natural History to discover the best nature photography in the world. More than 26,000 photos were entered into the Windland Smith Rice International Awards, with 60 of the finest submissions selected for inclusion in this visually marvelous exhibit. In addition to photos, you’ll see a video of manta rays and sharks feeding and a display that shows how cameras have evolved.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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Smorgasburg DC – Through October
Billed as the world’s largest outdoor food market, Smorgasburg DC sets up shop in the Tingey Plaza at Navy Yard on Saturdays through at least October. Expect to see more than 30 food vendors from a range of backgrounds, including Nobu Yamakazi (the chef of Sushi Taro, recipient of a Michelin star) and his new eatery, Skew’d, as well as Himitsu co-owner Kevin Tien, who will offer hot chicken at the Hot Lola’s booth. There will also be periodic pop-ups throughout the market’s run and a beer garden for relaxing.
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tingey Plaza, Tingey Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

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@klarislvs - Woman with children at United States Botanic Garden Conservatory - Free kid-friendly attractions in Washington, DC

‘Gardens Across America’ – Through Oct. 1
Appreciate the variety and aesthetic brilliance of 20 different gardens all over the U.S. through this new exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Gardens Across America will showcase rare and endangered plants, historic estates and signature visual elements of each park. Visitors will be able to grasp the gardens’ regional characteristics, styles, origins and much more.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20001

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Whistler in Watercolor exhibit at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler galleries - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Whistler in Watercolor’ – Through Oct. 6
James McNeill Whistler, creator of the famous Peacock Room at the Freer|Sackler Galleries, was also a renowned painter of watercolors. The museum will display more than 50 of these pieces, including figures, landscapes, interiors and nocturnes, in this new exhibit. Visitors will have a chance to encounter the true breadth of Whistler’s artistic work when viewing these rarely seen paintings.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Freer|Sackler Galleries, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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American Myth and Memory: David Levinthal Photographs at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC

‘American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs’ – Through Oct. 14
David Levinthal uses photographs of baseball players, Barbie dolls, toy cowboys and other iconic American archetypes to showcase myths and stereotypes that have been prevalent in post-World War II American society. This exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum will highlight six of Levinthal’s best-known series of photographs, all created between 1984 and 2018. More than 70 images will ask you to consider what it means to be strong, or beautiful, or masculine, or feminine, in modern America.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004

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@classyandkate - Woman at United States Botanic Garden on the National Mall - Free museum attraction in Washington, DC

‘Celebrating New American Gardens’ – Through Oct. 15
The U.S. Botanic Garden, the oldest continually operating botanic garden in the country, celebrates new American gardens in this fascinating exhibit. Experience the latest and greatest in public gardens, which showcase plant collections, provide beautiful public spaces and highlight the changing of the seasons. Gardens created and renovated in the last five years are the focus, which means you will see only the height of creativity and innovation.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20001

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@austinkgraff - Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on the National Mall - Free art museum in Washington, DC

Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths’ – Through Oct. 20
This traveling exhibition comes to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Striking Iron will feature more than 225 works of art spanning early archaeological evidence to today. Throughout, visitors will notice how African blacksmiths were able to turn a natural resource into life-altering objects that not only served as utilities, but also displayed incredible artistry, spirituality and technical skill.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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The Way of the Kami exhibit at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler galleries - Free museum exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘The Way of the Kami’ – Through Nov. 11
According to the Japanese Kojiki (“Records of Ancient Matters”), the Japanese islands were created when gods reached down from the heavens and stirred the Earth with a jeweled spear. This text was written in 712 and laid the mythical foundation for the religious practice of Shinto, or “the Way of the Deities”. Freer|Sackler’s new exhibit will focus on the artistic culture of Shinto, which sees gods in the landscape, in natural phenomena, in dead ancestors. You’ll learn about this captivating belief system and see rare and amusing artifacts while doing so.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Freer|Sackler Galleries, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Child at United States Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill - Free living museum in Washington, DC

‘It’s Hip to Be Square: The Mint Family’ – Through Nov. 23
The mint family of plants is larger than you think. While Mentha (peppermint and spearmint) and Salvia (sage) get a majority of the attention, rosemary and coleus are also prevalent members of the species. In total, more than 230 genera and 7,000 species make up the mint family, which means you have a whole lot of plant-learning to do at this new U.S. Botanic Garden exhibit that opens at the end of the month.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20001

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@bambamfiasco - The atrium inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian - Free attractions in Washington, DC

‘Section 14: The Other Palm Springs, California’ – Through Jan. 2020
Palm Springs, California is known as a playground for the rich and wealthy. However, the area was once a desert outpost and home to Native Americans. This exhibit focuses on the conflict that arose over a one-square-mile-tract of the city’s downtown, which formed the heart of the reservation belonging to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Section 14 will show how the area became a hotbed for issues like tribal sovereignty, economics, race and land zoning from the 1940s through the 1960s.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence - Women's suffrage exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in DC

‘Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence’ – Through Jan. 5, 2020
The National Portrait Gallery honors the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with this highly anticipated exhibit. You’ll learn about the radical women that fought slavery, the women activists of the late 1800s, the “New Woman” of the 20th century and the relentless suffragists of the 1910s through a series of portraits, cultural artifacts and biographies. The exhibit will also examine the struggles that minority women still face today, 100 years after the 19th Amendment passed. Find even more ways to celebrate the achievements of women in DC.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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@emilygoesplaces - Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden plaza - Free modern art museum in Washington, DC

‘Manifesto: Art X Agency’ – Through Jan. 5, 2020
Manifestos summarize the principles of artistic movements and groups, and the Hirshhorn looks to guide you through a century’s worth of art using the statements as a guide. Works by seminal artists such as Salvador Dalí, Jackson Pollock and Alexander Calder will serve as an introduction, followed by manifestos that inspired their work. Julian Rosefeldt’s multichannel film, Manifesto, will be displayed in its own section, while a third portion of the exhibit will showcase contemporary pieces that shine a light on political movements and social change. In conjunction with this exhibit, the Hirshhorn will present In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth) for the first time in DC, a participatory installation that will be on the outdoor plaza from June 8-23.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@pradook8 - Visitors outside Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC - No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man Exhibit

‘Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination’ – Through Jan. 5, 2020
Ginny Ruffner has mastered sculpture and glass, and has now spread her artistic wings into Augmented Reality. Ruffner weaves the technology into her glass sculptures to create an interactive experience for observers. In this exhibit at the Renwick Gallery, visitors will download an app that superimposes digital images of growing appendages and mythical flowers onto Ruffner’s barren sculptures of tree stumps, creating two realities to explore in the process.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

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Michael Sherrill Retrospective at the Renwick Gallery - Free things to do in Washington, DC

Michael Sherrill Retrospective – Through Jan. 5, 2020
The Renwick Gallery provides a retrospective on the fascinating career of artist Michael Sherrill in this exhibit that feature more than 75 objects from his oeuvre. Spanning nearly 40 years of work, the display will showcase Sherrill’s evolution from teapots and clay vessels to his stunning, nature-inspired sculptures that utilize clay, glass and metal.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 
Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

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@washingtondcua - Tour guide with group in Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘All Work and No Pay: A History of Women’s Invisible Labor’ – Through Feb. 2020
Ideally timed for Women’s History Month, this exhibit at the National Museum of American History will highlight women’s work in the home and the corresponding issue of unwaged labor. “Costumes” for domestic work ranging from colonial times to the 1990s will show how women are expected to manage the housework regardless of class, race, culture or community. Visitors will be able to learn the inequality and unfairness of this outdated societal assumption through artifacts and images.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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@emilygoesplaces - Henry the Elephant at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall in Washington, DC

‘Game Change: Elephants from Prey to Preservation’ – Through Feb. 1, 2020
Elephants are one of the most fascinating species in the world, and their conservation is essential. This exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History shows how the public attitude towards elephants has drastically shifted since the late 19th century, when big game hunting was popular. Now, care and concern for these animals is a must in order to save them. Find out why in this exploratory and historic display.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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@evansevilla - ‘Champions’ exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘In Mid-Sentence’ – Through March 8, 2020
Photographs that depict moments of communication make up this new display from the National Portrait Gallery. Pivotal moments in history are showcased throughout, from JFK’s speech at the 1960 Democratic National Convention to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech to Walter Cronkite’s meeting with Daniel Ellsberg as the “Pentagon Papers” were published.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on the National Mall - Free Museum in Washington, DC

‘I Am… Contemporary Women Artists of Africa’ – Through March 15, 2020
This new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art draws on the museum’s permanent collection to feature 28 women artists that take on topics of faith, community, racism, identity, the environment and politics in their stunning work. Utilizing a range of media, the exhibit will show visitors how these artists have powerfully contributed to the dialogues on the most important issues of our time.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@washingtondcua - Tour guide with group in Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad’ – Through Spring 2020
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Museum of American History displays this exhibit that addresses the forgotten Chinese workers who heroically built the western leg of the railroad through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The result of their work is also showcased in detail, including a graphic that maps the railroad and descriptions of both the positive and negative impacts of the route.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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'One Life: Marian Anderson' exhibit at National Portrait Gallery from June 28, 2019 to May 17, 2020

‘One Life: Marian Anderson’ – Through May 17, 2020
A singer, diplomat and muse, not to mention a strong fighter against segregationist policies, Marian Anderson was an iconic figure of mid-20th century American. Her historic performance at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 was a monumental moment, but this National Portrait Gallery exhibit dives much deeper, displaying paintings, photos, personal effects and archival materials that highlight Anderson’s stirring and influential career.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Mary Ann Meade / Meade Brothers Studio / c. 1850, Sixth-plate daguerreotype / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Emerson Lyons

‘Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits’ – Through May 31, 2020
See daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of icons such as Margaret Fuller, Lucy Stone, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lucretia Mott in this new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. While these women were doing incredible work in advancing civil rights, portrait photography was on the rise. The historic portrayals are all the more poignant in 2019, as the work of these women still reverberates today.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Sculpture Down to Scale: Models for Public Art at Federal Buildings, 1974-1985 - Free exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC

‘Sculpture Down to Scale: Models for Public Art at Federal Buildings, 1974-1985’ – Through June 6, 2020
As can be observed in DC, monuments and public sculptures are essential to the American landscape, serving as public expressions of identity, morality and pride. This exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which opens Friday and runs through June 6, 2020, features nine models (or “maquettes”) of incredible works that were meant to be public art. You will see the true and original vision of each artist in these models, which are works of art in their own right.
11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004

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Magnificent Obsessions Why We Collect exhibit at the National Museum of American History - Free Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in DC

‘Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect’ – Through July 1, 2020
The phenomenon of collection is the focus of this new exhibit at the National Museum of American History. Learn about pioneering collectors who helped shape Smithsonian Libraries through their infinite curiosity and desire to preserve the past. You’ll encounter the sheer diversity of the Smithsonian’s collections and how the institution continues to preserve historic treasures and modern items.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote - Free exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC

'Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote' – Through Sept. 2020
The seven-decade struggle for women’s suffrage will be illuminated in striking detail in this new exhibit at the Library of Congress. Visitors can retrace stories of diverse women who changed America. The exhibition draws from the collections of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell and other suffragists – in their own words. Photographs, film footage and rare manuscripts will transport visitors back in time as women took their place in the public square. Use #ShallNotBeDenied to share your experiences at the museum.
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Saturday
Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540

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Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote - Free women's suffrage exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC

‘Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote’ – Through Jan. 3, 2021
This 3,000-square-foot exhibit at the National Archives will use more than 90 items, including records, artifacts and photographs, to tell the complex story of diverse suffragists in securing women’s voting rights. The exhibit will also go well beyond 1920 to show the relentless struggle that occurred throughout U.S. history to win voting rights for all women.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Archives, 701 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408

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Museum at the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters - Museums in Washington, DC

‘Ordinary Equality: DAR Members and the Road to Women’s Suffrage, 1890-1920’ – Through Jan. 2021
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Museum & Archives showcases how its members helped secure voting rights for women through social reform. You’ll see photographs, biographies, letters and more that highlight the accomplishments of more than 40 women. Admission is free. Note that the museum is closed on Sundays.
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
DAR Museum & Archives, 1776 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

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Good as Gold, Fashioning Senegalese Women free exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC

‘Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women’ – Ongoing
The National Museum of African Art recently received a significant influx of gold jewelry into its collection, leading to this new exhibit that examines the cultural significance of gold in the West African nation of Senegal. The Wolof concept of sañse (which roughly translates to “looking and feeling good”) is at the center of stylish Senegalese women often wearing gold, a notion that will be covered in detail, along with the production, display and circulation of gold in the country.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560

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@washingtondcua - Tour guide with group in Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Free museum in Washington, DC

‘Everyday Luxury: Silk Quilts from the National Collection’ – Opens July 30
The National Museum of American History gives visitors a rare opportunity with this exhibit that opens at the end of the month. Everyday Luxury will display a selection of the museum’s collection of 19th century silk quilts, which were made to be seen and not slept on. In observing these textiles, visitors will also gain insights into American industry, fads, art and marketing.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

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The Best Events and Festivals Happening in Washington, DC

No city provides as many world-class activities for free as Washington, DC. Discover 100+ free things to do in the ‘Capital of Free!’