The United States is a country of rich culture and history, and there are few better ways to learn about it than the Smithsonian Museum of American History. But as amazing as this museum is, we know that everything is more fun when you add a little rhythm, so that’s what this tour is all about! Our guides will walk you through the museum’s exhibits and the many musical artifacts it holds, discussing music’s relevance to the incredible historical events and phenomena that inspired some of the best-known melodies in America today.
Your DC tour begins at one of the museum’s highlights, the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit. Here, you’ll discover the origins of the national anthem, the war that started it all, and you’ll even hear a few different versions of the song. You’ll also have the chance to see the original flag — Old Glory in all her glory.
Next, you and your guide will head downstairs to to check out the instruments and belongings of some of America’s most famous musicians. You’ll hear the stories of how they shaped music with their inventions, innovative styles, and revolutionary hits, and you’ll explore the importance of music and the hidden (and sometimes not so well hidden) messages in songs that were used in political movements and times of struggle. You may even discover that you’ve been accidentally transmitting a code every time you whistle your favorite tune!
Finally, you’ll end your tour between the '90s and the present-day, where you’ll discover how past rhythms and beats made their way into nightclubs and bars with the invention of electronic music equipment. As a bonus, we’ll give you a chance to make a beat of your own — who knows, you could be America’s next top DJ!