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Dupont Circle Museums - Washington, DC

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Dupont Circle is home to a variety of small museums that are interesting to visit and provide exhibits on a range of topics from modern art to political memorabilia to the history of the Communist Party. These lesser known Washington DC museums take just an hour or two to explore and are rarely crowded. (Listed in Alphabetical Order)

For general information about visiting the area, see Dupont Circle - A Neighborhood Guide

1. Anderson House

© Rachel Cooper
2118 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC (202) 785-2040. This 1905 Beaux Arts mansion was the home of American diplomat Larz Anderson and his wife and is now the headquarters of The Society of the Cincinnati, founded in 1783 to preserve the memory of the American Revolution. Visit the museum and experience the history and splendor of Gilded Age Washington.

2. The Brewmaster's Castle (Christian Heurich House Museum)

© Rachel Cooper
1307 New Hampshire Avenue NW Washington, DC (202) 429-1894. The 31-room Victorian home is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design and a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available of the late 19th-century home on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Check the schedule for specific times.

3. Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives

© Rachel Cooper
17th and M Sts., NW. Washington DC. (202) 730-0478. The historic building, built in 1872, was one of the earliest public schools for African American students. Today it serves as the home of the official museum and archives of DC Public Schools. The museum houses school related artifacts that date back to 1804.

4. Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center

© Rachel Cooper
2112 R Street, NW, Washington, DC (202) 483-2777. The bilingual, community-based museum is dedicated to the art and cultural heritage of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.

5. L. Ron Hubbard House

© L. Ron Hubbard House
1812 19th Street NW. Washington, DC. (202) 234-7490. The museum is the original landmark location of the first Founding Church in the world. Here, the prolific American writer, explorer, and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, trained students, lectured, and worked from 1957 through 1960. L. Ron Hubbard House provides informative exhibits with photographs that give glimpses into Hubbard's early world travels. Visitors can also step into his 1957 office and see his Remington typewriter, Ampex tape recorders, Roneo mimeograph machine, Grundig radio, and personal artifacts.

6. Laogai Museum‎

© Rachel Cooper
1734 20th St NW Washington, DC. (202) 408-8300. The museum was founded in 2008 by Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner Harry Wu to expose China's forced labor prison camp system (the Laogai) and other human rights abuses in China. It covers the history of the Communist Party's reign, highlighting its oppression of the Chinese people from 1949 until the present. It also details the profiles of numerous political prisoners and Laogai camp victims and reveals top secret internal Communist Party documents about the prison system's structure, regulation, and operation. ‎

7. The Mansion on O

© Rachel Cooper
2020 O St. NW Washington DC. The only museum of its kind, visitors explore over 100 rooms, 30 bathrooms, and 14 kitchens searching for more than 32 secret doors. The collection rotates and changes daily. A wide range of programs are available including artist-in-residence, live concerts, art-leasing, songwriter's workshops, kids programs and more. Online reservations are required.

8. National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall

© Rachel Cooper
17th and M Sts. NW Washington, DC (202) 857-7588. The museum features spectacular photography and interactive displays that explore nature and human cultures from all over the world. Special programs include films, lectures, concerts and family events.

9. National Museum of American Jewish Military History

© Rachel Cooper
1811 R St. NW Washington DC. (202) 265-6280. The museum highlights the contributions made by Jewish Americans who have served in the armed forces and have worked to combat anti-Semitism.

10. The Phillips Collection

© The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC (202) 387-2151. The museum houses one of the world’s most distinguished collections of impressionist and modern American and European art. It combines works of different nationalities and periods in displays that change frequently. Artists represented in the collection include Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Claude Monet, Honoré Daumier, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Mark Rothko, Milton Avery, Jacob Lawrence, and Richard Diebenkorn, among others.

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