There is no better destination for History and Politics students than Washington D.C. Everywhere you turn you’ll spot numerous monuments devoted to historical figures and amazing gardens created in memory of heroes from the past.
There are so many things to see and do during a trip to Washington D.C. that it can be a struggle to fit everything in. Although there are some exceptions, many of the museums and tourist hot stops within Washington are free of charge to visit. This includes Arlington cemetery, the US Holocaust Museum, the Lincoln Memorial, National Air and Space Museum, The White House and the Pentagon, to name a few.
By planning ahead you can decide which places are best suited to your class and prioritise them in order of importance. Here are just a few of the best places to visit when planning the perfect trip to Washington D.C.
With the largest military graveyard in the world, Arlington Cemetery tells the stories of various historical events that have happened in the US.
Students can visit the graves of numerous important figures, such as John F. Kennedy and President William Howard Taft. Visitors will soon discover the town’s rich history, and reflect on the stories of those who are buried there.
Students can discover America’s archival heritage at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington D.C.
Established in 1934, NARA holds all federal records deemed to be of extreme value and historical importance. Schools can view the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence among other famous documents.
US Holocaust Museum
While visitingthe US Holocaust museum, pupils will learn about the harrowing events that took place less than a century ago with a series of film footage, artefacts and eye witness accounts.
The Museum is free to enter and has numerous exhibitions on display at any one time. Not only do these exhibitions investigate the lives of those who had to endure such cruel treatment at the hands of the Nazis, but also those who lived nearby to the concentration camps or witnessed the persecution of the Jews.
The Museum aims to inspire citizens and leaders to confront hatred and prevent genocide. By looking closely at historical events, those from many walks of life can help to shape a brighter future.
Lincoln memorial steps
Completed in 1922, the 30m tall statue of Abraham Lincoln took four years to carve, and is a popular attraction for visitors from across the world.
Students will love standing next to the towering sculpture and can read the inscriptions of two of Lincoln’s most famous speeches, The Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address.
By visiting the Lincoln memorial steps, pupils can not only honour the 16th President of the United States, but they can also stand in the exact spot Martin Luther King stood when he delivered his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech in 1963.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Take a coach trip to visit the site of one of the biggest battles of the American Civil War. Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the park includes a museum and visitors centre, allowing history students to improve their knowledge of one of the most brutal battles in American history.
Students could also get the chance to view many of the park’s 43,000 American Civil War artefacts, and will also learn about how the war provided President Abraham Lincoln with inspiration for his “Gettysburg Address” speech.
The White House
No trip to Washington D.C is complete without visiting The White House to see where the President lives and works.
Students are likely to be amazed when they learn that The White House has been home to every President since 1800 when John Adams was president.
It is possible to visit the White House by contacting the UK embassy in Washington. This will give you the chance to see where the President of the United States lives and works. You’ll also get to view the amazing architecture, décor, and art work within one of the most famous buildings in the world. There’s also an opportunity to take a virtual tour of the building from your classroom before you set off.
Air and Space Museum
At the Air and Space Museum pupils can view the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the entire world. Pupils studying the Cold War will be able to expand their knowledge of the Space Race which saw the Soviet Union and the United States compete for supremacy in spaceflight capability. Don’t forget to look out for the freeze-dried space food in the gift shop.
Covering more than 6 million square feet of floor space, the Pentagon is one of the largest office buildings in the world. Designed by American architect, George Bergstrom, building work was completed in 1943.
Schools can take a guided tour of the building, walking one and a half miles in total while learning about some of the most significant moments in American history.
It may surprise students to know that the Pentagon took just 16 months to build despite having more than twice the floor space of the Empire State Building.
A trip to Washington D.C. can prove really valuable for history or politics students. By visiting this magnificent city drenched in American history, pupils can improve their understanding of historical figures and create memories that will last forever.
For more information about politics and history trips, please get in touch with WST. With extensive school trip knowledge, we can help you to plan the perfect trip to help your students to succeed in their chosen subjects.