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Field Trip: Washington, DC

March 23, 2022

The nation’s capital welcomes students back with new and updated museums.

Opening in spring 2023, a few blocks from Chinatown, the new Capital Jewish Museum connects Washington, DC’s first synagogue, built in 1876, (Ulysses Grant was at the dedication ceremony) to newly constructed museum galleries via a sky bridge. Visitors will learn about Jewish culture, life, and values through storytelling and a “transformative multimedia experience” that will be housed in the synagogue’s sanctuary. The exhibit will feature touchable objects, snippets of oral histories, archival photos and film projected onto every surface of the room in a 360-degree immersive theater experience.

Located at the U.S. Department of State, the new National Museum of American Diplomacy will introduce visitors to the principles of diplomacy and the power of peaceful negotiations. Exhibits will allow students to explore paths to becoming a diplomat. They’ll hone their diplomatic strategy skills through interactive experiences that include role-playing in a historical scenario, crisis management in the operations center and checking out gifts foreign nations have presented to Secretaries of State. The museum’s diplomacy simulations immerse middle school and high school students in skill-building roles based on real-world scenarios where they’ll practice collaborating with people who have diverse values, interests, and perspectives to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.

After a multi-year makeover, the National Air and Space Museum will reopen this fall with several reimagined galleries and exhibitions that will include 1,400 new objects on display. Students will experience the larger-than-life world of aviation and space travel through viewing artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft collection, including Neil Armstrong’s lunar spacesuit. At the new Nation of Speed, check out fast and powerful vehicles like the Turner RT-14 Meteor air racer, the Sonic Wind 1 rocket sled and Mario Andretti’s Indy 500 winning race car. A new 50,000-square-foot learning center will house programs and activities related to innovation and careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The learning center will open in 2026.

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