National Postal Museum in Washington DC

The National Postal Museum, housed in a building that opened in 1914 as the city’s post office until 1986, opened as a museum in 1993. In addition to the 35,000 square foot public museum, the building is home to a 6,000 square foot research library, stamp store, and museum shop. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute, the world largest museum complex, encompassing 19 museums (and a zoo!) in Washington DC and New York City. The Postal Museum is one of my favorite museums in Washington DC and one of the most kid friendly places in town.

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International Spy Museum in Washington DC

Original opened in the Penn Quarter section of Washington DC in 2002, the International Spy Museum expanded and moved to its current located between the National Mall and the Wharf and reopened in 2019. The museum is home to the largest collection of spy related artifacts open to the public. The 8 floor museum includes two floors of exhibits; a theater for screenings, films, and presentations; a Learning Center for workshops, classes, and professional development for teachers; and a lobby and museum store. 

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National Building Museum in Washington DC

The National Building Museum, located in downtown Washington DC, opened in 1985 after over a century of previous functions. Built in the late 18th century as the headquarters for the US Pension Bureau and as a honor to the men who fought in the Civil War, the space later hosted hundreds of celebratory functions in the nation’s capitol, including many presidential inauguration balls. It took over 15 million bricks to build the structure which includes a Great Hall, over a dozen gallery rooms, classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, and 234 busts (look up!) and 144 Doric style columns on the first and second floor.

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Whydah Pirate Museum In West Yarmouth MA

Opened in June of 2016, the Whydah Pirate Museum showcases the ruins of the Whydah ship and the only full pirate treasure ever discovered in the world. The Whydah, a slave ship eventually overtaken by pirates, was built in 1715 in London and sailed to West Africa before heading to America. Captured by Sam Bellamy and fellow pirates, a Nor’Easter sank the ship off the shores of Cape Cod during the early morning hours of April 27, 1717. Only 2 of the 146 men (130 pirates and 16 prisoners) on the ship survived. 

In 1984, Barry Clifford discovered the wreckage off the coast of Wellsfleet, Massachusetts. Archaeologists and divers search through the wreckage between June and October each year searching for more treasures and bring artifacts back to the lab for cleaning, preservation, and display at the museum. 

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Playing ‘I Spy” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a town of less than 10,000 people, is the site of the largest Civil War battle ever fought, lasting three days in early July 1863. Over 51,000 soldiers were captured, wounded, or killed. The Battle is considered the turning point of the American Civil War, as the Union won the battle over Robert E. Lee and the Confederate army.

Each year, over three million people visit Gettysburg to learn about American history; to explore the museums, shops, and restaurants; and to enjoy the outdoors- there are over 31 miles of hiking trails. Many locations around town honor the people who fought in the battle and the civilians who supported them during and after the battle. The town also has strong ties to former Presidents Lincoln and Eisenhower.

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