Day 1: Washington D.C. - Washington D.C. is the capitol of the United States of America. It takes its name from our first President George Washington. In fact, the tallest monument in the city is the Washington Monument. You can even go to the top in an elevator and see a fantastic view of the Mall. The Mall of Washington D.C. is not a place with stores where you shop. It is a huge space where vehicles are not allowed, making it the perfect place for people to walk and enjoy our nation's monuments, government buildings, and the Smithsonian museums. Washington D.C. is not located in a state, but is part of what's called the District of Columbia. The "Columbia" stands for Christopher Columbus who is credited with discovering America. There is magnificent frieze of Columbus in the rotunda of the Capitol building. Nearly everything in Washington D.C. honors and celebrates our nation's history and those who made our nation great.
Christopher Columbus frieze in Capitol building
Day 2: The Capitol Building - The U.S. Congress—made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate—has met in Washington, D.C. since 1800. Construction on the Capitol building began in 1793. Congress had been meeting in Philadelophia; they officially moved from Philadelphia in 1800. When Congress first moved to the Capitol, the House of Representatives met in the room we now call Statuary Hall. That became too small and today contains 100 statues, two from each state.
The Rotunda is the center of the Capitol. The circular room is 96 feet in diameter and 180 feet high. It connects the two sides of the Capitol—the House wing and the Senate wing. The walls of the room are decorated with artwork showing important moments in American history, including the landing of Columbus and the Wright Brother’s first flight.
One of the most famous works of art in the Rotunda is The Apotheosis of Washington, which was painted on the ceiling by Constantino Brumidi in 1865. The painting shows George Washington rising into the heavens with two women—one representing Liberty and the other representing Victory—by his side. Surrounding them is a circle of 13 women, each representing one of the 13 original colonies. Six groups of people appear around the circle, representing war, science, marine, commerce, mechanics, and agriculture. Thousands of people on tours of the Capitol see Brumidi’s painting each day.
The Rotunda also serves as a meeting space for special events and ceremonies. Recipients of Congressional Gold Medals, such as Constantino Brumidi himself, receive their awards in ceremonies held in the Rotunda. Also, distinguished citizens, such as Rosa Parks, are honored in the Rotunda after they die.
There are two wings off the Rotunda. One goes to where the Senate meets. There are two senators from each state. Our senators are Tom Cotton and John Boozman. The other wing is where the House of Representatives meet. The number of representatives a state has is based on the population of the state. Each section of a state has someone to represent them in the United States House of Representatives; our representative is Rick Crawford.
Learn about the Dome restoration project going on now...
Day 3: The Monuments --Washington D.C. has many monuments that serve as a constant reminder of the gratitude we owe to countless individuals who preserved our freedom. Just look at this list!-- most would be shocked to learn there are over 130 monuments in the city. Today we will briefly look at some of those that are visited daily, not just by Americans, but by people all over the world.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Marine Corp War Memorial (Iwo Jima)
World War II Memorial
Korean War Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery
Day 4: The Smithsonian Museums - The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from James Smithson (1765-1829), a British scientist who left his estate to the United States to found “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Today the huge museums of the Smithsonian border two sides of the Washington D.C. Mall between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. The oldest of these buildings is the Smithsonian Castle. Visitors can pay homage to Smithson with a visit to his crypt, located on the first floor of the Smithsonian Castle. The red numbers of this map point out just how many museums there are. Although they may look small, each building is massive; you could easily spend an entire day in ONE of the museums. The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum complex. Today we will briefly visit each.
The Smithsonian Castle
The National Museum of American History
The Museum of Natural History
National Gallery of Art
Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art and Sculpture
National Air and Space Museum
National Museum of the American Indian
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
National Portrait Gallery
the actual flag Francis Scott Key wrote the "Star Spangled Banner" about is in this museum!
Dinosaurs, diamonds, and more!
You can see paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Titian, and others!
Get ready for wild art here!!!
if it made an aviation first --it's here
ingenuity and beauty brought together in things they used
artifacts testify to the truth of that horrible time
the official portraits of the Presidents are here
Day 5: The White House - President George Washington oversaw construction of the White House, but he never lived there! It was our second president, John Adams, elected in 1796, who first lived in the White House. His term was almost over by the time he moved in, and only six rooms had been finished.While James Madison was president, from 1809 to 1817, the United States went to war with England. On August 24, 1814, British soldiers sailed up the Potomac River and set fire to the White House. A summer thunderstorm put out the fire, but only the charred outside walls and the interior brick walls remained. It took three years to rebuild the White House.
Did You Know?
Today we will look inside some of the rooms!
- There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels to accommodate all the people who live in, work in, and visit the White House. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8staircases, and 3 elevators.
- The White House has six floors—two basements, two public floors, and two floors for the First Family.
- For recreation, the White House has a variety of facilities available to its residents, including a tennis court, a jogging track, a swimming pool, a movie theater, a billiard room, and a bowling lane.
the Situation Room --secure and where big decisions are made
Rose Garden and South Lawn --outdoor parties happen here
The Oval Office --the President works here
State Dining Room
the Lincoln Bedroom
Many First Ladies have a special pattern of china made --this room showcases many of those patterns
the East Room --parties and balls are held here
The President and his family have their own living area of the White House that feels more like home to them. The public is not allowed to tour that part of the White House. This shows President Reagan and Nancy enjoying a relaxing evening.