Go behind the scenes for an insider's look at Smithsonian treasures, an exclusive tour offered only through Smithsonian Journeys! This year, Smithsonian Journeys is celebrating 50 years and reflecting on the Smithsonian's mission of the increase and diffusion of knowledge.

Starting at: $3,990 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Rotunda at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History  Tyrannosaurus Rex, Deep Time, National Museum of Natural History  Portrait of a stegosaurus, National Museum of Natural History  March for women's suffrage, Washington, D.C. Credit: Library of Congress  March for Women's Suffrage. Credit: Alamy / Science History Images  Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum  Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum  Quilt from the collection of the Anacostia Community Museum  Special event in the National Postal Museum Great Hall  Great Hall of the National Postal Museum  Exhibits in the atrium of the National Postal Museum  Exhibit at the National Postal Museum  Exterior of the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum  George Washington's Mount Vernon. Credit: Mount Vernon  Mount Vernon at dusk  Portrait of George Washington by Charles Peale Polk. Credit: Mount Vernon  George Washington's study at Mount Vernon. Credit: Mount Vernon  The family dining room at Mount Vernon. Credit: Mount Vernon  Painting of Mount Vernon by Edward Savage. Credit: Mount Vernon  The historic Hay-Adams  Lobby of the Hay-Adams  View of the White House and monuments from the Hay-Adams

Celebrate Smithsonian

A Behind-the-Scenes Gala Event

4 days from $3,990

Go behind the scenes for an insider's look at Smithsonian treasures, an exclusive tour offered only through Smithsonian Journeys! This year, Smithsonian Journeys is celebrating 50 years and reflecting on the Smithsonian's mission of the increase and diffusion of knowledge.

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 at a gala event offering an insider’s look into your national museum. This year, our exclusive one-time-only program reflects on Smithsonian’s mission of the increase and diffusion of knowledge. We’ll usher you behind the scenes so that you can learn more about the Institution’s many research initiatives, curatorial efforts, and educational programs. Along the way, you’ll meet top curators and researchers, whose conviviality and passion create a uniquely immersive experience.

Highlights Include

  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History: Enjoy gala welcome festivities in the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils and explore the newly installed hall “Deep Time,” where you'll gaze in awe at the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Woolly Mammoth, and some 700 other fossil specimens.
  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History: Enter the doors of the special exhibition “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage,” and gain insight from the exhibition curator, Lisa Kathleen Graddy. This major new exhibition is part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, which strives to recognize and celebrate the impact women have made on American history, past and present.
  • Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum: Meet Museum Director Melanie Adams, who offers insight into this recently reopened museum, following an extensive refurbishment. In addition to fascinating collections, the museum examines and interprets the impact of historical and contemporary social issues on urban communities.
  • Exclusive Presentation: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Curator Dorothy Cochrane talks about her research on Amelia Earhart, and author and historian Heather Ewing will discuss The Lost World of James Smithson: Science, Revolution and the Birth of the Smithsonian.
  • Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum: Delight in a reception and tour at this museum, home to one of the world’s largest and most significant philatelic and postal history collections. The National Philatelic Collection was established at the Smithsonian in 1886. Afterward, enjoy dinner in the museum and a presentation by Daniel Piazza, curator of philately.
  • Mount Vernon: Step on to the grounds of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Take an after-hours private tour of the 21-room mansion, one of the most iconic 18th-century homes in America. Afterward, enjoy a presentation and farewell dinner on the premises.
  • The Hay-Adams: 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.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrive in Washington, D.C.

After checking into The Hay-Adams, gather in the hotel lobby in the early evening and depart for the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

This new 31,000-square-foot fossil hall invites you to explore the epic story of how Earth’s distant past is connected to the present and informs our future. You'll explore ancient ecosystems, witness the evolution of life, and get up close to some 700 fossil specimens. Gaze upon impressive fossils of dinosaurs as you enjoy a reception in the hall. As you meander the impressive gallery space, discover how human actions are driving Earth’s rapidly changing climate today much like long-ago geological events did in the past. The exhibits help to interpret the scientific evidence of the past and present, and how the choices we make today will live far beyond us, in deep time. A curator from the Department of Paleobiology offers a presentation on this new, important gallery, which is followed by a welcome dinner in the museum. (R,D)

Day 2 — Smithsonian's National Museum of American History / Smithsonian's National Postal Museum

A private breakfast buffet will be served at the hotel each morning.

Begin the day with refreshments at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Enjoy time at the special exhibition, "Creating Icons: How We Remember Women's Suffrage," where the curator of the exhibition, Lisa Kathleen Graddy, will give special insight into the exhibition and the museum. 

A group luncheon will be served at a local restaurant. During dessert and coffee, enjoy a presentation by Heather Ewing, author of The Lost World of James Smithson: Science, Revolution, and the Birth of the Smithsonian. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

In the early evening, enjoy a festive reception at Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. The National Postal Museum houses one of the largest and most significant philatelic and postal history collections in the world and one of the world’s most comprehensive library resources on philately and postal history. The National Philatelic Collection was established at the Smithsonian in 1886 with the donation of a sheet of 10-cent Confederate postage stamps. Generous gifts from individuals and foreign governments, transfers from government agencies, and occasional purchases have increased the collection to today's total of more than 5.9 million items. 

Enjoy dinner in the museum, followed by after-dinner remarks about the collection given by Curator Daniel Piazza. (B,L,R,D)

Day 3 — Anacostia Community Museum | Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

After breakfast, depart for Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. Reopened in 2019 after extensive renovations, the museum seeks to illuminate the intersections of history, culture, and contemporary social issues affecting the Washington, D.C. area communities using a local lens to tell stories that resonate both nationally and globally.  Following welcome remarks by Museum Director Dr. Melanie A. Adams, enjoy a guided tour of the museum’s holdings, which reflect a tremendous diversity of experiences, perspectives, and achievements in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Take time in the exhibition, A Right To The City, which explores more than five decades of neighborhood change in the nation's capital well as the rich history of organizing and civic engagement that accompanied it. Also, marvel at the diverse array of African American quilts, works by Washington, D.C. artists, and historic sports memorabilia.

Return to the hotel for a luncheon followed by a talk by Curator Dorothy Cochrane, who curates the collections of general aviation aircraft and the history of women in aviation at Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Learn about the ongoing refurbishments at the flagship museum on the National Mall as well as Cochrane's research on the life and legacy of Amelia Earhart. The remainder of the late afternoon will be at leisure. 

In the early evening, depart by motorcoach for George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum. The mansion is one of the most iconic 18th-century homes in America. It was originally constructed by George Washington's father in 1734. George Washington began running Mount Vernon in 1754 and over the next 45 years this one and one-half story home was slowly enlarged to the 21-room residence seen today. 

Enjoy a private, candlelit evening tour of the mansion, then gather on the lawn for spectacular twilight views of the Potomac River and Maryland beyond. Following a special presentation, a festive farewell dinner takes place at the restaurant on the estate of Mount Vernon. Return to the hotel late in the evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 — Depart 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 12:00 p.m. (B)

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