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 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  March on Washington, August 1963. Credit: Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress  Meditation room at the National Museum of African American History and Culture  Smithsonian's newly renovated Renwick Gallery  The dramatic grand entry of the Renwick Gallery  The SERC Laboratory, Smithsonian's first LEED-certified building  Scientist at work at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Credit: Jim Duls  Scientist at work at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center  The Smithsonian Institution Building, affectionately known as "the Castle"  Gala dinner event at the Smithsonian 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 the 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. Discover some of the fascinating galleries accompanied by curators, then enjoy a gala reception and dinner followed by a special presentation by a curator. Continue exploring the museum the next morning during guided tours.
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center: Travel outside of Washington D.C. to our environmental research center, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. This 2,650-acre site of shoreline, wetlands, and forests serves as a natural laboratory for long-term and cutting-edge ecological research. Meet Director Anson “Tuck” Hines and tour the facility in small groups accompanied by staff.
  • Exclusive Presentations: Enjoy access to Smithsonian experts throughout your visit, including a special presentation by Dr. Matthew Carrano, lead curator at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History’s new National Fossil Hall. Dr. Carrano will provide the latest updates on fossil research and plans for the Hall, scheduled to open in 2019. 
  • Smithsonian Castle: Attend a gala dinner in the Castle Commons, a stunning setting with a soaring vaulted ceiling and neo-gothic details. Then listen to remarks by Dr. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian's Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research, who will offer insight into the Institution’s treasures.
  • 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 the 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.

In the early evening, gather in the hotel lobby with fellow guests and Smithsonian Journeys staff to depart for an exclusive after-hours event at 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 an 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. Arrive at the museum where you'll enjoy a private reception and welcome remarks with senior staff, then tour select exhibitions when the museum is free from crowds, and attend a gala welcome dinner. (R,D)

Day 2 — Washington, D.C.

Return to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where you'll tour other museum galleries in small groups. During your visit, you will have free time to explore additional exhibitions and the museum shop.

Depart for the Old Ebbitt Grill for lunch and a presentation by a senior curator from the Renwick Gallery. Continue to 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 building is a National Historic Landmark, the first museum 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. After your visit, walk back to The Hay-Adams Hotel via historic Lafayette Square, at your leisure.

Gather in the hotel this evening for a fascinating discussion with Matthew Carrano, Curator of Dinosauria at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Afterward, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Edgewater, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

This morning, depart for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), 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 Tuck Hines, Director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Patrick Megonigal, Deputy Director for Research and Principal Investigator. Then tour the campus in small groups to 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, return to Washington, D.C. and the hotel.

In the early evening depart for the Smithsonian Castle and your festive farewell dinner! The Smithsonian Castle, also designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., was constructed of red sandstone in the Norman style (a 12th-century combination of late Romanesque and early Gothic motifs). When it was completed in 1855, it became home to the Smithsonian's earliest collections as well as the first Smithsonian Secretary, Joseph Henry, and his family. Built on a piece of land isolated from downtown Washington, D.C. by a canal, the Castle later 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 and the remodeling from 1968 to 1969 restored the building to its original Victorian ambiance. The building is now home to administrative offices and a grand visitor information space.

During dessert and coffee, enjoy a final talk by Richard Kurin, Smithsonian’s Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research, who provides further insight into the many museum collections and research of the Institution. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Washington, D.C.

Enjoy breakfast 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)