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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 26
April 17, 2024

The National Arboretum, one of Washington’s best-kept secrets, is home to 9 miles of winding parkland roads covering more than 450 acres. Step outdoors and enjoy a spring day there during what is usually the peak blooming time for azaleas, dogwoods, and seasonal wildflowers. The visit includes a walking tour of popular collections, a picnic box lunch on site, and a special guided tour of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.

April 18, 2024
$160 - $210

Even if your knowledge of German is limited to “Ja” and “Nein,” this tour makes it easy to indulge your curiosity about all things German, tracing the roots and influence of Germans, past and present, in Washington with tour leader Kathleen Bashian. Highlights include a visit to the German American Heritage Museum; St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church; and German-American Friendship Garden.

April 26, 2024
$215 - $265

During this all-day tour with horticulturist Chelsea Mahaffey, spend the morning at Oak Spring, the former home of philanthropists Paul Mellon and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, usually closed to the public. The nearly 700-acre estate includes the main Mellon residence, its extensive gardens with examples of Bunny Mellon’s landscaping, and the formal greenhouse. The afternoon takes you to the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm on the former Tuleyries estate, which includes the State Arboretum of Virginia.

April 28 to April 29, 2024
$560 - $835

Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge are home to natural splendor, cultural treasures, and coastal charm. Spend two days with naturalist and educator Liana Vitali immersed in island life, exploring the natural wonders the barrier islands have to offer—and hear the lore of the Chincoteague ponies’ origin.

May 3, 2024
$215 - $265

From the period after World War II through the late 1960s, the Mid-century Modern design movement swept through the United States and Europe, emphasizing functionality, clean lines, and simplicity. Design historian Elizabeth Lay Little leads a tour to eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey that explores how the movement took root in the region. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)