It's the center of government and a great meetings destination, but Washington, D.C., is also a destination for history, museums, and remembrance. Spend a day getting in touch with each of those (but don't bother trying to squeeze in the Washington Monument, which is closed for renovations until the spring of 2019).
DAY 1: DAY OF HISTORY10:00 AM
The first stop is, obviously, the National Archives Museum
where the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are on view.12:00 PM
A tour of the U.S. Capitol
building is a must, so don't forget to make reservations well in advance, either yourself or through the offices of your senator or representative -- the latter being the only way to book a White House tour.3:00 PM
Next, discover where all of that money being spent in the Capitol comes from by watching it being made at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Souvenirs
are available at face value only.DAY 2: DAY OF MUSEUMS
The newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution -- a collection of 19 museums, galleries, and a zoo -- is the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture,
which opened a year ago this month. Because of high demand, going online for a timed entrance pass is advisable.12:30 PM
The National Gallery of Art
and its Sculpture Garden comprise one of the top museums in America, with collections that range from the Renaissance and Dutch Masters to Van Gogh, Picasso, and Alexander Calder, among many others.3:00 PM
Get your garden on, in summer at the National Arboretum
with its bonsai and cherry trees; and in winter at the glassed-in U.S. Botanic Gardens,
with flora native to all 50 states.
DAY 3: DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
With the War in Afghanistan -- the longest war in American history -- still dragging on to its long-hoped-for conclusion, start the day with the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery
in Virginia.12:00 PM Visit Pershing Park,
one block east of the White House, which will become the home of the new National World War I Memorial on Nov. 11, 2018 -- the 100th anniversary of the holiday first known as Armistice Day, marking the end of "the war to end all wars."5:00 PM
At a time when racial tensions are running high in America, a day dedicated to remembrance must conclude at the west end of the National Mall, where the Lincoln Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
are within sight of each other.This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.