Go behind the scenes for an insider's look at Smithsonian artifacts and state-of-the-art research facilities. This year will feature the National Museum of African American History and Culture, our dazzling new museum.

Starting at: $3,495 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture  Lonnie Bunch, director of NMAAHC, speaking at museum's groundbreaking ceremony, Feb. 22, 2012, flanked by Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough, First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama. Credit: John Gibbons/Smithosnian  Family portrait following emancipation. Credit: Library of Congress  Participants at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Credit: Warren K. Leffler, courtesy of Library of Congress  Smithsonian's newly renovated Renwick Gallery  The dramatic grand entry of the Renwick Gallery  Scientist at work at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center  The Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory at SERC, the Smithsonian's first LEED-certified building  The Smithsonian Institution Building, affectionately known as "the Castle"  The iconic Smithsonian Castle

Celebrate Smithsonian

A Behind-the-Scenes Gala Event

4 days from $3,495

Go behind the scenes for an insider's look at Smithsonian artifacts and state-of-the-art research facilities. This year will feature the National Museum of African American History and Culture, our dazzling new museum.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

An eye opening look at aspects of the Smithsonian that we forget about-or never knew. The range of the Institution's research is astounding! 

- Clyde L.

We thoroughly enjoyed Celebrate Smithsonian and look forward to joining a Smithsonian Journeys trip in the future. We thought the program, Smithsonian representatives, and fellow participants were all top notch. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

This tour was very special because it brought me into the heart of what the [Smithsonian] mission is all about. Much of the history, the purpose and the philosophy were covered and it made me appreciate your institution all the more.

- Lydia M.

The Celebrate Smithsonian trip exceeded my expectations!

- Robin T.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Overview

Join us to Celebrate Smithsonian during this exclusive gala event offering an insider’s look into your national museum. This year our special one-time-only program features the Smithsonian’s newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We’ll usher you behind the scenes to see this historic museum with its dazzling exhibitions, plus take you to a major center for ecological research, and introduce you to top curators and researchers, whose conviviality and passion create a uniquely immersive experience.

Highlights Include

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture: Enter this dazzling and thought-provoking museum after public hours. Tour many of the exhibitions with curators, then enjoy a gala reception and dinner and listen to a presentation by a curator. Return to the museum the next morning for private tours.
  • Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center: Travel to our environmental research center, located on an estuary of the Chesapeake Bay, which leads research on coastal ecosystems to inform real-world decisions for wise policies, best business practices, and a sustainable planet. Tour the facility in small groups to learn more about the fascinating research conducted here.
  • Exclusive Presentations: Enjoy a discussion led by a curator from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) following lunch at the historic Old Ebbitt Grill, then explore the collections of the Renwick Gallery, a branch of SAAM. In the evening, enjoy an exclusive talk by a Smithsonian curator with expertise in dinosaurs, who will provide the latest updates on fossil research and the plans for Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History National Fossil Hall, scheduled to reopen in 2019.
  • Smithsonian Castle: Enjoy a gala dinner at the Smithsonian’s oldest building, which opened in 1855 and was home to the first Secretary of the Institution and all of its collections.
  • The Hay-Adams Hotel: Stay in this elegant historic landmark hotel, located near the White House and Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. 

An eye opening look at aspects of the Smithsonian that we forget about-or never knew. The range of the Institution's research is astounding! 

- Clyde L.

We thoroughly enjoyed Celebrate Smithsonian and look forward to joining a Smithsonian Journeys trip in the future. We thought the program, Smithsonian representatives, and fellow participants were all top notch. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

This tour was very special because it brought me into the heart of what the [Smithsonian] mission is all about. Much of the history, the purpose and the philosophy were covered and it made me appreciate your institution all the more.

- Lydia M.

The Celebrate Smithsonian trip exceeded my expectations!

- Robin T.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Washington, D.C.

Gather in the hotel lobby with fellow guests and Smithsonian Journeys staff. Depart for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Enjoy a reception and welcome remarks with Senior Staff from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Tour select exhibitions this evening. Enjoy a gala welcome dinner at the museum. (R,D)

Day 2 — Washington, D.C.

Make a return visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We’ll split into smaller groups to tour the museum. During your visit, you will have free time to explore the exhibitions and shops. Depart for lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill. This afternoon arrive at the Renwick Gallery to explore the collections in the company of guides. The Renwick Gallery is home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection of contemporary craft and decorative art, one of the finest and most extensive collections of its kind. The museum’s home is a National Historic Landmark, the first built expressly as an art museum in the United States, and is named in honor of its architect, James Renwick, Jr. The museum sits near Lafayette Square, across the street from The White House and The Old Executive Office Building. Afterwards, walk back to The Hay-Adams via historic Lafayette Square, at your leisure. Gather in the hotel this evening for a fascinating discussion with Matt Carrano, Curator of Dinosauria at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Later, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Washington, D.C.

Today we’ll depart Washington, D.C. for Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center (SERC). Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center is located about 30 miles east of Washington, D.C., on the Rhode River, a sub-estuary of the Chesapeake Bay. SERC provides science-based knowledge to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century and leads research on coastal ecosystems—where land meets the sea—to inform real-world decisions for wise policies, best business practices, and a sustainable planet.

Enjoy welcome remarks by the Director of Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center, Tuck Hines and Associate Director for Research, Principal Investigator, Patrick Megonigal. Then split into smaller groups to tour the campus and learn more about the fascinating coastal environmental research being conducted here. Reconvene for a catered lunch on the SERC campus. During dessert and coffee enjoy a wrap-up conversation with scientists. In the late afternoon, depart for Washington, DC and the hotel.

In the early evening depart for the Smithsonian Castle and your festive farewell dinner! The Smithsonian Castle was designed by architect James Renwick, Jr. The building is constructed of red sandstone from Seneca Creek, Maryland, in the Norman style (a 12th-century combination of late Romanesque and early Gothic motifs). When it was completed in 1855, it sat on an isolated piece of land cut off from downtown Washington, DC, by a canal. In the ensuing decades, the Castle became the anchor for the National Mall, as additional museums and government buildings were constructed around it. Over the years several reconstructions have taken place. The first followed a disastrous fire on January 24, 1865, which destroyed the upper story of the main segment and the north and south towers. In 1883, the east wing was fireproofed and enlarged to accommodate more offices. Remodeling from 1968 to 1969 restored the building to the Victorian atmosphere reminiscent of the era which it was first inhabited.

During dessert and coffee, enjoy a final talk by a Senior Smithsonian Official. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Washington, D.C.

Breakfast is at your leisure. You will be provided with a voucher for use in the hotel’s restaurant or for room service. Individual departures from the hotel. Check out time is at noon today. (B)

Program itinerary is subject to change.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)