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Study Tours

All upcoming Study Tours

Smithsonian Associates Study Tours takes the educational intent of our fabulous programming outside the classroom and on the road!

About our tours

Each tour is led by one of our Study Leaders with expertise in the subject matter along with a Smithsonian Representative to handle all the logistics and comforts of the group. The study leader imparts knowledge both formally and informally throughout the tour, with methods that can include a background lecture, handout materials, narrating site visits, and stimulating social engagement with all participants during the course of the tour.

Tour types

Study tours include day bus trips, multi-day and overnight tours, and shorter neighborhood walks or visits to specific sites. We offer over 70 study tours each year, and we hope you will join us!

Select a tour type to learn more:

Day bus tours visit destinations as close as Capitol Hill and as far as New York City or Maryland's Eastern Shore. Topics for these tours are wide-ranging and cover subjects such as military history, art, architecture, railroading, horticulture, gastronomy, and literature.

Popular day bus tours have included:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater
  • John Wilkes Booth's Escape Route
  • Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
  • Sultana Cruise & Historic Chestertown
  • The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Overnight tours give Study Leaders the opportunity to take a group a greater distance from Washington, DC. Study Leaders spend more time with participants and explore the subject in greater detail. The majority of these tours depart from Washington, DC, however for some tours the group meets at the destination.

Popular overnight tours have included:

  • Best of Brooklyn, New York
  • Berkshires Summer Sampler
  • Exploring Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago
  • Corning Museum of Glass
  • West Virginia Railroad Spectacular

Walking and on-site tours last two to three hours. Participants meet directly at the tour destination and spend time with the Study Leader exploring that particular subject or neighborhood.

Popular walking and on-site tours have included:

  • Inside Smithsonian Libraries
  • Architecture on the National Mall
  • Dupont Circle and Embassy Row
  • Sunrise Hike at Great Falls
  • Roosevelt Island Walks

All upcoming Study Tours

Showing programs 1 to 5 of 16
June 22, 2024
$225 - $275

Travel back to 1638 in Wilmington, Delaware, with a daylong immersive exploration led by transportation expert Scott Hercik. In that year, Swedish and Finnish settlers arrived on the ships Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip, landing on the Christina River at the site of present-day Wilmington and eventually creating the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley. The day includes visits to the Copeland Maritime Center and Museum and Old Swedes Historic Site and an afternoon voyage on a replica of the Kalmar Nyckel.

June 30, 2024

The rolling hills east of the Anacostia River, with a commanding view of Washington D.C., have been settled for centuries. From the trading grounds of the Indigenous Nacotchtank to a whites-only suburb known as Uniontown to a predominantly Black community, Anacostia has seen dramatic change. Join Carolyn Muraskin, founder of DC Design Tours, for a look at the area’s architecture, which encapsulates its many identities.

July 12 to July 13, 2024
$725 - $1,075

One of the top theater festivals in the world, the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, helps shape the future of American theater. Each summer since 1991, the festival has produced bold, new plays spotlighting daring and diverse stories. Washington, D.C., area theater aficionado Lynn O’Connell leads a visit to the festival.

July 14, 2024
$200 - $250

Travel to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond with historian Justin M. Jacobs for an awe-inspiring look at Japan’s exquisitely crafted samurai armor from one of the largest collections in the world. More than 140 works from the collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller offer a glimpse of samurai history with a focus on the flourishing culture of the Edo period. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

July 20, 2024
$185 - $235

Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, young Araminta Ross faced adversity from an early age. These hardships transformed “Minty” into Harriet Tubman, the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, and her childhood knowledge of the geography of the Eastern Shore played a key role in her success in ferrying more than 70 people to freedom by 1860. Historian Anthony Cohen uncovers the saga of Tubman’s life by exploring significant sites in the region where she was raised—and that shaped her dreams of freedom and equality.