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capitol at night

East Front of the Capitol at sunset. Courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol


Museums & Monuments | Arts & Entertainment | Research | Getting Around

Museums & Monuments

Smithsonian MuseumS

The Smithsonian Institution—the world's largest museum and research complex—includes 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park.

Most Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are free and open every day of the year except December 25. For a complete list of hours see the information on planning your visit or select a museum from the list.

The U.S. Capitol Building

The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. Visitors are welcome to enter the building through the Capitol Visitor Center, located underground on the east side of the Capitol. You can begin your Capitol experience at the Visitor Center by visiting the Exhibition Hall, perusing our Gift Shops or dining in our Restaurant. For information please visit:

The White House

Public tours of the White House are available. Requests must be submitted through one's Member of Congress. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted). Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible as a limited number of spaces are available. All White House tours are free of charge.  (Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.)

If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, please contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request. For additional information please visit:

Monuments and Memorials in Washington DC

There are a number fo memorials and mionuments in Washington DC. For more information visit the National Park Service website.

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, State Museum of Archaeology

Jefferson Patterson Park is a unique, historic region featuring 70 identified archaeological sites within an hour drive from the conference venue near Washington, D.C.  It includes over 560 scenic acres along the Patuxent River in Calvert County, Maryland. Take note of the hours of operation for each exhibit and the visitor center as some are only open on weekends.

Jefferson Patterson Park activities include a Visitor Center, Hiking, Antique Farm Exhibit, and a re-created Indian Village (featuring long houses, fish smoking and drying racks)

Map & Directions to Jefferson Patterson Park: MAP

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America and is open 365 days a year. Today, roughly 500 acres of this historic estate have been preserved. Visitors can see 20 structures and 50 acres of gardens as they existed in 1799. General Admission Tickets (2011) are $15/Adult (Can be purchased online).

The Mount Vernon estate includes Museum, the tombs of George and Martha Washington, Washington's greenhouse, an outdoor exhibit devoted to American agriculture as practiced by Washington, The nation's most important memorial to the accomplishments of 18th-century slaves, and collection of numerous decorative and domestic artifacts. 

Matthew Alexander Henson Grave, Arlington National Cemetary

Matthew Henson in an iconic figure in Arctic exploration. Most famous for being a part of Peary's 1909 expedition which claimed to be the first to reach the Geographic North Pole, Matthew Henson was reinterred in Arlington Cemetary in 1988 near a monument dedicated to the Peary explorations. For more information visit:

Old Post Office Tower

The Old Post Office Tower soars to 315 feet, making it third in height among the buildings of the Nation's Capital. The 270-foot observation level allows visitors an awe-inspiring view of the city and the area. Here also are the century old tower clock and the Bells of Congress. The latter were a Bicentennial gift from the Ditchley Foundation in England. For more information visit:

Arts & Entertainment

Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center is located on 17 acres overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. and is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy as well as the nation’s busiest arts facilities.  Various world renowned performing arts are featured at the Center year round.

Check the Performance Calendar to view performances during the ISC 2012 Conference.

Map of Kennedy Center Location:  MAP


Smithsonian Institution Libraries

With its 20 libraries the Readers' Services division of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries plays an essential role at the Institution. The combined collections include approximately 1.5 million volumes with 40,000 rare books, and have especially strong holdings in most of the Institution's historical disciplines including Natural History, History of Science and Technology, Anthropology, Philately and Postal History, African and Asian Art, American Art and Portraiture, Aviation and Space Exploration, Botany and Horticulture, Decorative Arts and Design, Tropical Biology, Museology, and Native American and African American History and Culture. For more information about each library and who to contact for access please visit:

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. For more information please visit:

National Archives

The National Archives was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but its major holdings date back to 1775. They capture the sweep of the past: slave ship manifests and the Emancipation Proclamation; captured German records and the Japanese surrender documents from World War II; journals of polar expeditions and photographs of Dust Bowl farmers; Indian treaties making transitory promises; and a richly bound document bearing the bold signature "Bonaparte"—the Louisiana Purchase Treaty that doubled the territory of the young republic. To plan a visit go to

Getting Around


The main Washington, DC transportation system the Metro provide service throughout Washington DC and provides transportation to sorrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. For maps and details please go to:


Rent a bike for a few hours using BikeShare How it works:  A membership costing $5 is required first. You may purchase a membership at the bike share machine, or online.  A credit card is required at the Bike Share machines.  This $5 fee entitles you to 30 minutes use of a bike, with the rate increasing as follows:

  • 0-30 minutes FREE
  • 31-60 minutes+$1.50
  • 61-90 minutes+$3.00
  • Each additional 30 minutes+$6.00. 

Closest Bike Share Stations to Conference Venue:
10th St & Constitution Ave NW
USDA / 12th & Independence Ave SW
L'Enfant Plaza / 7th & C St SW

Maps of Bike Share Station Locations:

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