Washington, DC for Personal Historians – and Families


This year’s conference for the Association of Personal Historians take place on Veteran’s Day weekend, making it a perfect opportunity to travel with your family. While you’re networking, sharing experiences, and soaking up knowledge about the tricks of the trade, why not unleash your spouse or partner with the kids to learn a thing or two?  This is part one of two blog posts with recommendations for places to visit, based on my own experiences as a Washingtonian with two young children. Of course most of these spots are entertaining for adults or older children as well!

If you’re traveling with small children, note that Metro stations have elevators that will accommodate strollers. And if you don’t want to lug the kid gear, check out one of the rental services that deliver car seats, strollers, and more to your hotel. Two examples are Travel BaBees and Breezy Baby Travel Company, but you can find plenty of others on Google.

I’ve included sites that are easily accessible by Metro, but there are plenty more. If you’re planning on staying a few days, I recommend picking up a copy of Fodor’s Around Washington, D.C. With Kids, which lists sixty-eight age-appropriate places to visit, along with suggestions for where to eat.

Here are some favorite spots and activities that my family has enjoyed:

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Located on the National Mall, the bureau offers tours of the building where some $907 million is printed daily. On the tour, kids can look through windows to see how money gets made, from adding color to the paper to printing bills on huge sheets. Recommended for ages five and up.

Bike and Roll
Take guided bike tours of the major sites, or just rent bikes and tour around yourself.

Capital Bikeshare
If you’re looking to rent a bike for a short period, the District and surrounding suburbs offer a bike share program called Capital Bikeshare.
With twenty-four-hour, three-day, monthly, and annual memberships, you can take as many trips as you’d like during your membership period, and the first thirty minutes of each trip are free. Just go to one of the myriad bike kiosks and follow the directions. More information on rates and bikeshare locations is on the web site. Be sure to bring a helmet if you plan on using this option!

Corcoran Gallery of Art
Don’t think one of the oldest museums in the United States is a place for kids? Not so. During its Family Days, the museum offers activities for kids, such as created a flip book, styling your own fashion shoot, and turning everyday objects into art. Check Web site for programs, hours, and admission fees.

Here are a few more educational and fun sights:

National Gallery Sculpture Garden

National Building Museum

The Declaration of Independence and Constitution at the National Archives

Stay tuned for Part Two for more to see and do in DC!

~APH: Life, Story, People~

About today’s contributor: Karla Haworth—who loves seeing DC sights with her family—has been working as a journalist, writer, editor, and project manager for nearly 20 years. After moving away from full-time writing and reporting in 2002, she discovered what she had loved best about journalism: the deep sense of connection and satisfaction in listening to and recording her subjects’ stories. Karla longed to tell those amazing stories full-time, and was delighted to find so many APH members were doing just that! She joined APH in 2011, and has attended the annual conferences in Las Vegas and St. Louis. She launched her business, Periwinkle Muse Personal Histories, in Annandale, VA, in 2012. 

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