Tag Archives: living history sites

The Great American History Expedition Check List

I’m in the midst of planning for next year and thinking out history.  We’re wrapping up the Renaissance, but soon we’ll sail across the ocean and make it over here to the New World.  I’m not sure what speed we’ll move at, but my hope is to cover American history all the way through to the present, or at least to the second world war.  In February, we’ll take a break to do a big before we go on a huge trip to Africa unit study.  Then, in March, we’ll go to Africa.  Finally, in April, we’ll recover from having been in Africa.  By May, we’ll pick back up with American history. We usually do lots of fun projects and a few field trips with history.  For American history though, I really want to go whole hog and see everywhere with an American history tie in.  I’m actually pretty excited.  Here’s the checklist of places I hope we’ll get to at some point in the next year:

In the District Proper:

  • White House tour
  • Capitol tour
  • Bureau of Printing and Engraving (I have always heard this one is an excellent tour, we’ve just never done it)
  • National Archives
  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian Museum of American History
  • Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian
  • Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian Museum of American Art
  • Memorials walk – Washington to Jefferson, not skipping the overlooked DC World War I Veterans Memorial
  • Georgetown fun: Tudor House, Dumbarton House, Old Stone House, canal boat ride
  • Ford’s Theater and Peterson House
  • Lincoln’s Cottage
  • Frederick Douglass National Historical Site
  • Pierce Mill (if they ever get around to reopening it)
  • Mary McCloud Bethune House
  • Fort Circle Parks


  • St. Mary’s City
  • Riverdale Mansion
  • C&O Canal at Great Falls
  • Antietum National Battlefield
  • Clara Barton House at Glen Echo
  • Baltimore fun: USS Constellation, Transportation Museum, Fort McHenry, and a roll down a really awesome hill to get some grass stains


  • Mount Vernon
  • Claude Moore Colonial Farm
  • Manassas National Battlefield
  • Gadsby’s Tavern
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Williamsburg
  • Monticello
  • Montpelier
  • Appomattox Courthouse Battlefield
  • Cumberland Gap (maybe we’ll do the train again…)
  • Museum of the Confederacy
  • Petersburg National Battlefield
  • James River Plantations
  • Harper’s Ferry (I know it’s not in Virginia, it’s in other Virginia)

Other Spots:

  • Gettysburg 
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park
  • Philadelphia fun: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center (or whatever it’s called)
That's Mushroom and BalletBoy having their first introduction to Fala (FDR's beloved little dog). We've really been going to a lot of these spots of historic import for awhile I guess.

We’ve obviously done many of the D.C. places many times.  I’m dorkily excited to actually visit all the Fort Circle Forts.  Some, such as Fort Stevens, we’ve been too, but most we’ve never seen (some aren’t there at all anymore).  Doing some local D.C. history should be a fun part of this.  We’re more than just a drained swamp, you know.  I also hope to get my outrage on a little and indoctrinate the kids into the injustice that is our lives without the right to vote.*  Our church has been doing some D.C. voting rights work that maybe we could look into being involved with.  We need to drag ourselves out to do that great American activity: protest.  One trip is already planned.  We’re going to homeschool days in Williamsburg and staying at Great Wolf Lodge (you know, with the indoor water park!) using the homeschool deals they offered.  I’m pretty excited to see what it’s like to be on a vacation where we seriously see historical reenactors for half the day and go down water slides for the other half.

*You should be outraged that I don’t have the right to vote too.  Especially that we have to pay taxes and don’t have the right to vote.  And that Obama used our rights as a bargaining chip.  Oh, good grief, I didn’t mean to get too much outrage on here.  Sorry.  It’s just that being literally disenfranchised will do that to a person.