The Museum Capital: 2017 Exhibits in D.C.

Anyone who’s visited or is even familiar with the D.C. area knows it’s one of the best places in the country for museums and galleries. From the free Smithsonian museums to the immersive adventures of places like The International Spy Museum, the collections you’ll see in Washington-area museums are second-to-none.

This year, new exhibits are opening at several of the top museums in the region. Below are some of our favorites in D.C. and Alexandria.

Ella Fitzgerald at 100

The famous jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald would have been 100 years old this year. To celebrate her illustrious seven decades in music, the National Museum of American History tells Fitzgerald’s story through records, photographs, passports, contracts, and other actual items owned by the First Lady of Song and people in her personal and professional circle. The exhibit opened on April 1 in conjunction with several other jazz-related events at the Smithsonian.

Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography

In post-WWII America, many population groups moved from urban cities to the suburbs. This cultural transition, plus the construction of new highways through major cities, created isolation, upheaval and demographic changes in America’s urban jungles. Beginning on May 12, a showcase of work by ten photographers will be on display at the American Art Museum Renwick Gallery in Chinatown near the Verizon Center. The artists, including Frank Espada, Oscar Castillo and Ruben Ochoa, attempt to capture the human side of their subjects in contrast with their changing urban environments.

Mercy Uncovered: Archaeology in Civil War Alexandria

The new PBS show Mercy Street tells the story of nurses, laborers, and Confederate loyalists living in Civil War-era Alexandria, which was controlled by the Union. For 2017, the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, located at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town, unveiled a new set of exhibits and walking tours to help people understand what things were really like in Alexandria during the mid 19th century. Objects on display include a loaded musket, medical supplies, and military equipment. The exhibits opened on April 11 and run through December – check out the museum’s website for more information.

Choosing from the top hotels near Washington D.C.

If you’re visiting the District from out of town, you’ll need a quality place to hang your hat while here. With a free shuttle to the metro, complimentary hot breakfast bar, and helpful, attentive staff, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is one of the best hotels near D.C. for visiting the rich trove of galleries and exhibits on display here.

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