Skip to main content

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 29
March 2, 2024
In-Person
$155 - $205

Arts journalist Richard Selden leads a visit to Baltimore to experience “Ethiopia at the Crossroads” at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. The special exhibition celebrates the artistic traditions of Ethiopia and is the first major art exhibition in America to examine Ethiopian art in a global context. After an authentic Ethiopian lunch, visit an Ethiopian Orthodox church to explore this ancient culture more deeply. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


March 3 to March 4, 2024
In-Person
$630 - $945

There’s no better way to sweep away winter than with an overnight escape to the horticultural paradise that’s the Philadelphia Flower Show. And with a theme of “United by Flowers,” the 2024 edition is sure to provide plenty of color and extravagance. Horticulturist Chelsea Mahaffey leads the tour.


March 7, 2024

Discover what it takes to keep the Smithsonian’s many gardens and interior plant displays looking their best all year. Smithsonian horticulturist Vickie Dibella takes you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian Gardens’ Greenhouse Nursery Operations facility in Suitland, Maryland, whose greenhouses provide plants for the institution’s gardens and horticultural exhibits.


March 15, 2024

Soar into the fascinating world of North American shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds at the Bird House at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Built in 1928 and reopened in 2023 after a six-year renovation, the Bird House­ reflects a new era in which zoos function as key players in wildlife conservation. Brian Evans, an ornithologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and members of the Bird House’s animal-care team lead a fascinating immersive exploration of the exhibitions and the science that informs bird conservation.


March 22, 2024

Soar into the fascinating world of North American shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds at the Bird House at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Built in 1928 and reopened in 2023 after a six-year renovation, the Bird House­ reflects a new era in which zoos function as key players in wildlife conservation. Brian Evans, an ornithologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and members of the Bird House’s animal-care team lead a fascinating immersive exploration of the exhibitions and the science that informs bird conservation.