Free Virtual Smithsonian Scholar-Led Tour of D.C.


Explore Washington, D.C. From Home With This Free, Smithsonian Scholar-Led Tour

by Katherine J. Wu/

Over the course of a typical year, more than 20 million tourists flock to Washington, D.C. to soak in the city’s sights. 2020, of course, is no typical year. But thanks to a new online project, the world’s history buffs can embark on a guided tour of the nation’s capital from the comfort of their own homes.

On-demand video service the Great Courses has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to offer its Great Tours: Washington, D.C. series for free, bringing a vital piece of United States history to those sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring monuments, memorials, museums and other D.C. highlights, the 24-part compendium is half lecture, half interactive experience. It comes complete with quizzes, reader polls, maps, and—for the particularly knowledge-hungry—suggestions for further online exploration.

At the fore of the tour is guide Richard Kurin, a cultural anthropologist and the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large. Beginning with the backstory of Washington, D.C.’s founding in 1790, Kurin narrates the city’s transformation into a cultural epicenter, including the purposeful split that sectored it into its four famous quadrants…. Read More: 


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