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Insider’s Guide to Museums: Highlights and Big Shows

Where to find what you're looking for

Highlights and Big Shows


Where to Find Great Beauty

ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS, 201 18th St., NW; 202-458-6016; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5. Free. Street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

Home to acclaimed collection of 20th-century Caribbean and Latin American art. Look for works by Joaquìn Torres-Garcìa, Jesús Soto, and Rufino Tamayo. IN JUNE: "Works From the Collection," with more than 50 pieces.

ARTS AND INDUSTRIES BUILDING, 900 Jefferson Dr., SW; 202-633-1000; Free. Street parking. Metro: Smithsonian.

Closed indefinitely for renovation and expansion. The original Smithsonian building, it's being restored to look as it did when first opened in 1881.

BEAD MUSEUM, 400 Seventh St., NW; 202-624-4500; Wednesday through Saturday 11 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. Free; $3 suggested donation. Street parking. Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial, Gallery Place/Chinatown.

A timeline traces the influence of the bead over 10,000 years. THROUGH JUNE 26: "The Eternal Bead" explores beads in everyday life.

CORCORAN GALLERY OF ART, 500 17th St., NW; 202-639-1700; Wednesday through Monday 10 to 5, Thursday until 9. $3 to $6.75; pay as you wish all day Monday and Thursday 5 to 9). Street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

DC's oldest art museum. Originated to showcase 19th-century American prints and drawings by artists such as Charles Bird King and Gilbert Stuart. The Corcoran also exhibits 20th-century painting, photography, and sculpture by American and European masters like Monet and Picasso. OPENING MAY 21: An exhibition of award-winning news photographs from 2004.

DENNIS & PHILLIP RATNER MUSEUM, 10001 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-897-1518; Monday through Thursday noon to 4, Sunday 10 to 4:30. Free admission and parking.

Focuses on graphic arts inspired by the Hebrew Bible and created by painter and sculptor Phillip Ratner, founder of the Israel Bible Museum. See sculpture and drawing galleries based on fairy tales and classic children's literature. BEGINNING JUNE 19: The work of Peruvian artists Marco Cuba and Johnny Palacios.

FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, Visitors Center at 20th St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-452-3778; Weekdays by appointment. Free. Street parking. Metro: Foggy Bottom/GWU.

Three exhibits a year feature works from various countries' central banks or from the Fed's collection of more than 300 paintings, prints, and sculptures. OPENING MAY 24: "A Collection in Formation," with highlights from 30 years of the Fed's collection. Look for work by Ellsworth Kelly and Lee Krasner.

FREER GALLERY OF ART AND ARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY, 12th St. and Jefferson Dr., SW and 1050 Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-4880; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Smithsonian.

One of the most complete Asian art collections in the United States. Chinese paintings, Egyptian ceramics, illustrated manuscripts, Buddhist art, and Japanese folding screens are among the more than 30,000 objects dating back more than 6,000 years. CLOSING MAY 15: "Asian Games: The Art of Contest" at the Sackler, with 120 paintings, prints, and decorative-art objects that explore games–including chess, backgammon, and field hockey–from premodern Asia. UNTIL JUNE 26: "Luxury and Luminosity: Visual Culture and the Ming Court" at the Freer, with cobalt-decorated porcelains from the Ming dynasty.

HILLWOOD MUSEUM & GARDENS, 4155 Linnean Ave., NW; 202-686-5807; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5; reservations required. $5 to $12. Free parking. Metro: Van Ness/UDC.

The mansion of late cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post houses an extensive collection of Russian imperial and French decorative arts. Glass and metalwork, paintings, ceramics, and Fabergé eggs can be found on this 25-acre estate. SHOWING NOW: "Eva Zeisel: The Playful Search for Beauty" presents the work of the Hungarian-born ceramics designer.

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, Seventh St. and Independence Ave., SW; 202-357-2700; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: L'Enfant Plaza.

DC's modern and contemporary-art museum, with key work from leaders of the genre. Feast on Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, Roy Lichtenstein, and sculptures by Constantin Brancusi, Juan Muñoz, and Picasso. BEGINNING JUNE 23: "Visual Music," with more than 80 paintings, photos, films, and installations that explore art and music.

INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CULTURAL CENTER ART GALLERY, 1300 New York Ave., NW; 202-623-3774; Monday through Friday 11 to 6. Free. Street parking. Metro: Metro Center.

Housed inside the IADB's headquarters, this collection of more than 1,500 works specializes in art by Latin American and Caribbean artists. OPENING MAY 18: "Paradox and Coexistence II" examines artistic trends of Latin America between 1981 and 2000.

KREEGER MUSEUM, 2401 Foxhall Rd., NW; 202-337-3050; Tours Tuesday through Friday by reservation at 10:30 and 1:30, Saturdays 10 to 4 (closed in August). $8; students and seniors $5. Free parking.

The collection dates to the mid-1800s and includes work by Munch, Degas, van Gogh, and Joan Miró. African art is also on display. THROUGH JULY: "On Music: Tim Rollins & KOS." See the collaborative work of Tim Rollins and at-risk youth.

MANSION AT STRATHMORE, 10701 Rockville Pike, Bethesda; 301-581-5200; Monday through Friday 10 to 4 (Wednesday to 9), Saturday 10 to 3. Free parking and admission. Metro: Grosvenor/Strathmore.

One of the region's emerging art facilities, Strathmore hosts temporary exhibits showcasing local artists. Stroll outside and see sculptures scattered throughout the 11-acre campus. ENDING MAY 21: The Baltimore Watercolor Society's exhibit, with more than 100 works by area painters.

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DC/ARTISTS AND MODELS GALLERY, 1054 31st St., NW; 202-342-6230; Wednesday through Saturday 1 to 6. Free. Street parking. Metro: Foggy Bottom/GWU.

Monthly contemporary and modern-art exhibits from local and global artists are shown in this Georgetown gallery. JULY 8 TO JULY 29: "A Celebration of the Figure II," abstract nude photos, paintings, sculptures, and other mixed media by local, regional, and international artists.

NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM, 401 F St., NW; 202-272-2448; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 11 to 5. Free; $5 suggested donation. Street parking. Metro: Judiciary Square.

The feature exhibit, "Washington: Symbol and City," chronicles the architectural evolution of DC and the stories of key people. ENDING OCTOBER 10: "Tools of the Imagination" showcases 250 years of design technologies, from pencil to computer.

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, Fourth St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-737-4215; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 11 to 6. Free. Street parking. Metro: Judiciary Square, Archives/Navy Memorial.

A museum of world-class prestige with a collection that showcases major artistic movements as far back as the 13th century. See the work of such classical artists as da Vinci or enjoy the modern stylings of painter Jackson Pollock. ENDING MAY 30: "Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha" includes more than 90 drawings made from alternative materials such as gunpowder and vegetable stains.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN ART, 950 Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-4600; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Smithsonian/L'Enfant Plaza.

Provides an overview of African arts and crafts. The museum boasts a fine collection of ceramics and masks. Also see the craftsmanship of everyday objects like pipes, chairs, spoons, and headrests. PREMIERING JUNE 24: "Where Gods and Mortals Meet: Continuity and Renewal in Urhobo Art" unveils the art of this Nigerian ethnic group. See masks, wood figures, and contemporary work by Bruce Onobrakpeya.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN, Fourth St. and Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-1000; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: L'Enfant Plaza.

The newest addition to the Mall, this museum holds thousands of artifacts reflecting the culture of the American Indian–intricate wood and stone carvings, pottery and baskets, Navajo weavings, and painted quilled hides. SHOWING NOW: "Native Modernism: The Art of George Morrison and Allan Houser" showcases the work of two of the most influential Native American artists.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS, 1250 New York Ave., NW; 202-783-5000; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 5. $8 to $10; free for ages 18 and under. Street parking. Metro: Metro Center.

The world's only museum devoted exclusively to the contributions of women to the arts. Photography, sculpture, and paintings date to the 16th century and continue through to modern trailblazers like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe. ENDING MAY 8: "Berthe Morisot: An Impressionist and Her Circle" recalls the legacy of the 19th-century French impressionist.

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, Eighth and F sts., NW; 202-275-1738; Free. Street parking. Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown.

When reopened in 2006, DC's third-oldest federal building will have been restored to its original splendor and will include 30 percent more gallery space.

OCTAGON MUSEUM, 1799 New York Ave., NW; 202-638-3105; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 4. $3 to $5. Street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

Architectural drawings, models, photographs, and more. Look for a special focus on the work of 19th-century architect Richard Morris Hunt, designer of the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. OPENING MAY 18: "The Initiated Eye: Secrets, Symbols, Freemasonry, and the Architecture of Washington DC," featuring work of historical artist Peter Waddell.

PHILLIPS COLLECTION, 1600 21st St., NW; 202-387-2151; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, Thursday 10 to 8:30, Sunday noon to 7. $8 to $14. Street parking. Metro: Dupont Circle.

This Georgian Revival home turned museum houses work of American and European impressionists such as van Gogh and modern masters like Picasso. CLOSING MAY 29: "Modigliani: Beyond the Myth," a touring exhibit of nearly 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Italian-Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani.

POPE JOHN PAUL II CULTURAL CENTER, 3900 Harewood Rd., NE; 202-635-5400; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 5. $5 donation suggested. Street parking. Metro: Brookland/Catholic University.

Learn about the pontiff through photographs and personal items. Interactive galleries also touch on faith, community, and the imagination. THROUGH MAY 31: "Creating St. Peter's: Architectural Treasures of the Vatican." See the 18-foot wooden model used by Michelangelo for his design of St. Peter's Basilica dome.

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM AND RENWICK GALLERY, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-633-2850; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

The main building is closed for renovation until 2006. Inside the Renwick Gallery find crafts and decorative arts dating to the 19th century. THROUGH JULY 10: "High Fiber" highlights quilts, baskets, and tapestries from the mid-20th century.

TEXTILE MUSEUM, 2320 S St., NW; 202-667-0441; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. Free; $5 suggested donation. Street parking. Metro: Dupont Circle.

Oriental rugs and other textiles from around the world dating to 3000 BC. CLOSING JUNE 5: "Beyond the Bag: Textiles as Containers," with unique baggage from different cultures.

TORPEDO FACTORY ART CENTER, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria; 703-838-4565; Daily 10 to 5. Free. Street parking. Metro: King St.

Located on the Alexandria waterfront, this former naval torpedo station has six galleries and houses the studios of 84 local artists–paintings, pottery, photography, sculpture, jewelry, and more. THROUGH JUNE 5: "Ann Barbieri: Informality" showcasing the work of the Friends of the Torpedo Factory's artist of the year.

WHITE-MEYER HOUSE, 1624 Crescent Pl., NW; 202-667-6800; Wednesday through Sunday 2 to 5. Free admission and parking. Metro: Dupont Circle.

Temporary international art exhibitions are held inside this 94-year-old Georgian home designed by John Russell Pope and once the residence of late Washington Post owner Eugene Meyer.

–Jason Breslow


Glories From the Past

ALDIE MILL HISTORIC SITE, 39401 John Mosby Hwy., Aldie; 703-327-9777. Late April through late October: Saturday noon to 5, Sunday 1 to 5, and by appointment. $1.50 to $4; free for ages two and under. Free parking.

This gristmill was the largest of its kind in Loudoun County during the 19th century. It's still operational, with demonstration grindings on weekend afternoons. WEEKENDS IN JUNE: The mill's annual art show and sale featuring regional artists.

BANNEKER-DOUGLASS MUSEUM, 84 Franklin St., Annapolis; 410-216-6180; Tuesday through Friday 10 to 3, Saturday noon to 4. Free. Street parking.

The Maryland state repository for African-American history doubles its gallery space with an expansion opening this month. Its collection covers history, art, music, and culture. OPENING MAY 14: "Annapolis Underground," with archaeological artifacts from a largely African-American community from the 1880s through the 1950s.

BELAIR MANSION AND STABLE MUSEUM, 12207 Tulip Grove Dr. (mansion), 2835 Belair Dr. (stable), Bowie; 301-809-3089; Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4. Free parking and admission.

The plantation house features 18th-century paintings, furnishings, and fashion accessories. The stable shows off its 250 years of breeding prize-winning racehorses. HORSE HERO: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Triple Crown won by Belair-bred Gallant Fox.

BLACK FASHION MUSEUM, 2007 Vermont Ave., NW; 202-667-0744; By appointment. $1 to $2 donation suggested. Street parking. Metro: U St./African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo.

Houses antique and modern garments created or worn by African-Americans. Spotlights the achievements of African-Americans in fashion. THROUGH MAY 31: "Carol Mongo: Une Americaine a Paris" celebrates the first African-American director of the Paris branch of the Parsons School of Design. It features pieces created by Paris-based designer Patrick Kelly.

B'NAI B'RITH KLUTZNICK NATIONAL JEWISH MUSEUM, 2020 K St., NW; 202-857-6583; By appointment Monday through Friday noon to 3. For groups, $3 donation suggested a person. Street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

Created to preserve Jewish heritage, with art and artifacts from Biblical through modern times. The Philip and Mildred Lax Archive holds papers and documents that trace Jewish history. JUNE 23: As part of a lecture series celebrating 350 years of Jews in America, University of Maryland scholar Regina Igel discusses the plight of Brazilian Jews in the 17th century.

CARROLL COUNTY FARM MUSEUM, 500 S. Center St., Westminster, Md.; 800-654-4645; May through October: Saturday and Sunday noon to 5. July and August: also open Tuesday through Friday 10 to 4. $3 to $5; under six free. Free parking.

Tour the broom shop, smokehouse, general store, and other buildings from an 1850s farm. MAY 7 AND 8: Civil War reenactors set up camp.

CLARA BARTON NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, 5801 Oxford Rd., Glen Echo; 301-492-6245; Open daily 10 to 4. Guided tours only, on the hour. Free parking and admission.

The former headquarters for the American Red Cross, the home of its founder Clara Barton, and a warehouse for disaster-relief supplies. Visitors view Barton's restored bedroom and original Red Cross offices. MAY 7: A pet first-aid seminar presented by the Red Cross and the Humane Society.

CLAUDE MOORE COLONIAL FARM AT TURKEY RUN, 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean; 703-442-7557; April through mid-December: Wednesday through Sunday 10 to 4:30. $2 to $3. Free parking.

This living-history museum is on an 18th-century farm that grows tobacco, rye, wheat, and corn. Guides wear period costumes and portray characters of the era. MAY 21 AND 22: At Market Fair, shop for period items, bob for apples, and watch a children's puppet show.

COLLINGWOOD LIBRARY & MUSEUM ON AMERICANISM, 8301 E. Boulevard Dr., Alexandria; 703-765-1652; Open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday 10 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. Free admission and parking.

Highlights include a gold-cast copy of the Magna Carta and a Native American headdress with 87 eagle feathers. The library has a large collection of Native American historical works. LOOK FOR: The original diary of a Civil War soldier.

COLVIN RUN MILL HISTORIC SITE, 10017 Colvin Run Rd., Great Falls; 703-759-2771; March through December: Wednesday through Monday 11 to 5. January and February: Wednesday through Monday 11 to 4. Free parking and admission. Tours: $3 to $5.

This 19th-century gristmill produces cornmeal, grits, and whole-wheat flour sold at its general store. Other period buildings include a barn and blacksmith shop. JUNE 19: For Father's Day, every dad accompanied by a child gets a free tour. Woodcarvers teach their craft.

DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION MUSEUM, 1776 D St., NW; 202-879-3241; Monday through Friday 9:30 to 4, Saturday 9 to 5. Free. Street parking. Metro: Farragut West and North.

Thousands of preindustrial American furnishings and decorative arts, including rooms with period-style furniture. Check out the New Hampshire Room, an attic with 150 years' worth of toys and dolls. OPENING JUNE 10: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Historic Landmark Building Memorial Continental Hall, with DC history and still photos of television shows and movies filmed at the hall, from The West Wing to the recent National Treasure.

DEA MUSEUM & VISITORS CENTER, 700 Army-Navy Dr., Arlington; 202-307-3463; Tuesday through Friday 10 to 4. Free. Street parking.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's history of drugs, including an advertisement pitching cocaine as a cure for toothaches. THROUGH 2005: "DEA: Air, Land and Sea," with an agency helicopter, drag-racing car, and Jet Ski seized from drug traffickers.

FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY, 201 E. Capitol St., SE; 202-544-7077; Monday through Saturday 10 to 4. Free. Street parking. Metro: Capitol South.

The world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, along with exhibitions on the writer's life and times. THROUGH AUGUST 28: An exhibition on renowned 18th-century actor, writer, and entrepreneur David Garrick, including manuscripts and images.

FORD'S THEATRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, 511 Tenth St., NW; 202-426-6924; Daily 9 to 5, except during matinees and rehearsals. Free. Street parking. Metro: Metro Center.

The theater–famous as the site of Lincoln's assassination–reopened in fall 2003 after renovations. MORE TO SEE: Cross Tenth Street to see Peterson's Boarding House, where doctors tended to the wounded Lincoln and where on April 15, 1865, he was pronounced dead.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, 1411 W St., SE; 202-426-5961; April 15 through October 15: daily 9 to 5. October 16 through April 15: daily 9 to 4. Free admission and parking. Call for reservations for parties of five or more. Metro: Anacostia.

Though most of Douglass's possessions are being restored, you can tour the home where the famous African-American abolitionist and post-Civil War DC official lived from 1877 to 1895. The house is closed April 11 through May 21 and may be closed periodically afterward. HIGH POINT: Douglass's orchard marks the second-highest point in Anacostia, and the house sits on a hill with views of the city, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument.

FREDERICKSBURG AREA MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER, 907 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg; 540-371-3037; March through November: Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. December through February: Monday through Saturday 10 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. $1 to $5; under six free. Two hours free parking.

This 19th-century town hall houses artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries, including uniforms, paintings, and toys. THROUGH DECEMBER 31: "The Art of Living," about the evolution of Fredericksburg's upper-middle-class style, with furniture and fashion from 1720 to 1810.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BIRTHPLACE NATIONAL MONUMENT, 1732 Popes Creek Rd., Colonial Beach, Va.; 804-224-1732; Daily 9 to 5. $4; under 17 free. Free admission and parking. Metro: Franconia/Springfield.

Highlights include the foundation of the house where Washington was born, family cemetery, and picnic grounds with a nature trail. MAY 7 AND 8: Spring on the Plantation includes 18th-century plantation activities from sheep shearing to blacksmithing.

GEORGE WASHINGTON MASONIC NATIONAL MEMORIAL, 101 Callahan Dr., Alexandria; 703-683-2007; Daily 9 to 5. Free admission and parking. Metro: King Street.

Celebrates the life of America's most prominent Freemason. Features a large bronze statue of Washington and artifacts from his life. WHAT'S NEW: A 10 AM Wednesday tour about the memorial's art and architecture.

HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, Rt. 340, Harpers Ferry; 304-535-6298; Daily 8 to 5. $6 a car, $4 a person on foot.

The varied history of Harpers Ferry is on display in 20 museums, part of the huge park. Civil War, John Brown's famous raid on slavery, and the Industrial Revolution are just a few of the themes. MAY 28 AND 29: "Defend and Protect: Arming the American Soldier" explores the technology and weaponry of soldiers and explorers.

HISTORIC ST. MARY'S CITY, Rt. 5, St. Mary's City, Md.; 240-895-4960; March 15 through June 12: Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5. June 15 through September 18: Wednesday through Sunday 10 to 5. September 20 through November 26: Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5. $3.50 to $7.50. Free parking.

Hands-on exhibits relating to Colonial life and Maryland's first state capital. Interpreters in period costume re-create life in the 17th century, and visitors help churn butter and learn to shoot a bow and arrow. JUNE 18: The Maritime Heritage Festival celebrates all things nautical with demonstrations, activities, and a cruise on the St. Mary's River.

INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM, 800 F St., NW; 202-393-7798; March 24 through August 14: daily 9 to 8. $11 to $14; under four free. Street parking. Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown.

For everything espionage, from secret codes to disguise techniques to a pistol hidden in a lipstick container. Explore the history of the world's most famous spies. JUNE 4: KidSpy: Operation Secret Slumber. Kids ages 9 to 15 sleep at the museum as spy-school recruits and create aliases, learn cryptography, and uncover a mole within their ranks. $115 a person.

JAMES MADISON'S MONTPELIER, 11407 Constitution Hwy., Montpelier Station, Va.; 540-672-2728; April through October: daily 9:30 to 5:30. November through March: 9:30 to 4:30. $6 to $11; under six free. Free parking.

Lifelong home to the fourth president, this plantation and mansion include original 18th- and 19th-century furniture and a re-creation of Dolley Madison's bright-red bedroom. ONGOING: Visitors can take tours–offered daily every half hour–of the restoration work on the mansion.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, 202-707-5000; Jefferson Building (10 First St., SE): Monday through Saturday 10 to 5:30; tours at 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 (no 3:30 tour Saturday). Madison Building (101 Independence Ave., SE): Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 9:30 PM, Saturday 8:30 to 6:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Capitol South.

One of the earliest-known baseball cards and the score from Porgy and Bess are among the treasures here. THROUGH MAY 7: "I Do Solemnly Swear . . . " featuring letters, posters, and original copies of 18 presidential inaugural speeches.

LILLIAN AND ALBERT SMALL JEWISH MUSEUM AND THE JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF GREATER WASHINGTON, 701 Third St., NW; 202-789-0900; By appointment. (Facility is not wheelchair accessible.) $3 suggested donation. Limited street parking. Metro: Judiciary Square.

This synagogue, constructed in 1876, is the area's oldest. The museum houses artifacts from American Jewish life, specifically in the DC area, including scrapbooks, letters, and oral histories. Check out interviews about Washington's role in Israel's creation. OPENING JUNE 24: "Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community" at the National Building Museum, about the development of DC's Jewish neighborhoods.

LOUDOUN HERITAGE FARM MUSEUM, 21668 Heritage Farm La., Sterling; 703-421-5322; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 5. $5; seniors $4; ages 2 to 12 $3; under two free. Free parking.

Tour the exhibit hall and general store, post office, and learn about a day in the life of Loudoun County farmers. MAY 21 AND 22: See the museum and various private farms at Spring Farm Tour Weekend. There's also a country breakfast, arts and crafts, and vendors.

MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE COUNCIL HOUSE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, 1318 Vermont Ave., NW; 202-673-2402; Monday through Saturday 9 to 5 (closed federal holidays). Free. Street parking. Metro: McPherson Square or U St./African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo.

The first headquarters for the National Council of Negro Women and founder Bethune's last DC home. The Victorian house displays Bethune's original furniture and photographs; the carriage house is home to the National Archives of Black Women's History. ONGOING: "Women of Achievement," a historical account of the NCNW.

MOUNT VERNON, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Pkwy., Mount Vernon; 703-780-2000; April through August: daily 8 to 5. March, September, and October: daily 9 to 5. November through February: daily 9 to 4. $5 to $11; under five free. Free parking.

Seven generations of George Washington's family lived here. Visitors tour the mansion, gardens, a shoemaker's shop, stables, spinning room, and the reconstructed coach house, with Washington's elaborate carriages. JUNE 2: In celebration of Martha Washington's 274th birthday, anyone named Martha or who shares that birthday gets in free. There also will be stories about the first First Lady and a scavenger hunt.

MUSEUM OF AMERICAN PRESIDENTS, 130 N. Massanutten St., Strasburg, Va.; 540-465-5999; Memorial Day through Labor Day: Friday through Monday 10 to 5. Other times: Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5. $4 to $5; under six free. Free parking.

Highlights include the desk on which the Constitution was written, an exhibit on Air Force One, and a new collection of campaign buttons. FIRST LADIES TEAS: With tea, dessert, and a talk on the Roosevelt first ladies (May 1) and White House brides (June 5).

NATIONAL ARCHIVES, Constitution Ave. between Seventh and Ninth sts., NW; 866-272-6272; Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day: daily 10 to 9. After Labor Day through March 31: daily 10 to 5:30. April 1 through Friday before Memorial Day: daily 10 to 7. Free. Street parking. Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial.

A historian's paradise, with originals of famous documents, handwritten presidential speeches, and other rare primary sources. The rotunda reopened in 2003 after renovations to better display the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Magna Carta, and Emancipation Proclamation. "Public Vaults," a new interactive exhibit, features documents, photographs, and recordings on display for the first time. OPENING MAY 27: "Americans in Paris" looks at American-French relations through such items as rare footage of Jackie Kennedy's trip to Paris.

NATIONAL COLONIAL FARM, 3400 Bryan Point Rd., Accokeek; 301-283-2113; Mid-March through mid-December: Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 4. Fifty cents to $2. Free parking.

Life on an 18th-century tobacco farm is reenacted with a barn, smokehouse, and kitchen. MAY 14: Children's Day, with 18th-century games, hands-on activities, and blacksmithing demonstrations.

NATIONAL FIREARMS MUSEUM, 11250 Waples Mill Rd., Fairfax; 703-267-1600; Daily 10 to 4. Free parking and admission.

More than 2,000 firearms are on display here, from Annie Oakley's single-shot rifle to modern rifles and a collection of toy guns. OPENING MAY 19: "Arsenal of Democracy," featuring the arms of World War II soldiers and enemy weapons they brought home.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY, 14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-357-2700; Through May 25: daily 10 to 5:30. May 26 to September 4: daily 10 to 6:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Federal Triangle.

The collection is full of pop culture–from Kermit the Frog to an exhibit on America's first ladies–as well as touchstones from pivotal moments in the country's history such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. OPENING MAY 18: "ÁAzúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz" explores the life of the queen of Latin music, with photographs, costumes, rare footage, and music videos.

NATIONAL POSTAL MUSEUM, 2 Massachusetts Ave., NE; 202-633-5555; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Union Station.

The history of the post office, from an original copy of the law that established a mail service in the American colonies to a display on the Pony Express. JUST OPENED: "Stamps Take Flight," displaying pieces from the Postmaster General's private stamp collection, including rejected designs.

OXON HILL FARM, 6411 Oxon Hill Rd., Oxon Hill; 301-839-1176; Daily 8 to 4. Free parking and admission.

This farm from the 1800s has barns, stables, a farmhouse, and animals ranging from horses to rabbits. A museum houses old tools and machinery. CHICKEN FUN: Feed the chickens and help with chores in the coop at 11 Saturday through Thursday. Call for reservations for five or more.

PATUXENT RURAL MUSEUMS, 16000 Croom Airport Rd., Upper Marlboro; 301-627-6074; April through October: Saturday and Sunday 1 to 4. Free admission and parking.

Museums including the Duvall Tool Museum, the Tobacco Farming Museum, and the 1880 Duckett Log Cabin in the 6,000-acre Patuxent River Park explore rural life in southern Prince George's County. OCTOBER 8: "Kids Day in the Kountry," with children's activities, pony rides, and arts and crafts.

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION BUILDING, 1000 Jefferson Dr., SW; 202-357-2700; Daily 8:30 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Smithsonian.

Known as the Castle, this 19th-century red-sandstone building contains the Smithsonian's information center, a 24-minute video orientation, scale models of the city, and maps. FUN FACT: This was home to the Smithsonian's first chief, Joseph Henry.

SMITHSONIAN INTERNATIONAL GALLERY, 1100 Jefferson Dr., SW; 202-357-2700; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Smithsonian.

Features rotating exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the National Portrait Gallery, and other Smithsonian museums. OPENING MAY 7: "Close Up in Black: African-American Film Posters" follows the journeys of African-Americans in show business.

US HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl., SW; 202-488-0400; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free timed passes for the permanent collection; no passes needed for special exhibits. Street parking. Metro: Smithsonian.

The permanent collection covers three floors, with uniforms, original Auschwitz barracks, children's drawings from a concentration camp, and other powerful pieces. Each visitor is given the background of someone persecuted by the Nazis; at the tour's end, you learn that person's fate in the Holocaust. THROUGH OCTOBER 16: "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race" explores Nazi Germany's claim that Jews and others were threats to the health of the nation. Films, photographs, and other artifacts depict the Nazi goal to create a "master race."

WILLIAM PACA HOUSE AND GARDEN, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis; 410-990-4543; $5 to $8; under six free; $25 a family. Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 5. Street parking.

Built in the 1760s, this Georgian-style house was a town home for Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It has a two-acre garden, pond, and a wilderness garden. THROUGH THE SUMMER: "Keep Thy Body Well: Food, Health and Hygiene in an 18th-Century Home," with a "sick room" where Paca's young niece, Henny, stayed while she was ill.

WOODROW WILSON HOUSE, 2340 S St., NW; 202-387-4062; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 4. $2.50 to $5; under seven free. Street parking.

Focuses on the Washington years of the 28th president and his family. THROUGH SEPTEMBER 18: "The Misses Wilson" explores the lives of Wilson's three talented daughters, Meg, Jessie, and Nell, through photographs, paintings, recordings, schoolbooks, and personal effects.

–Kim Forrest

Science And Technology

Planes, Pandas, and Pearls

ADAMS CENTER FOR THE HISTORY OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY, 1 Prince St., Alexandria; 703-519-1579; Monday through Friday 9 to 5. Free. Street parking. Metro: King Street.

History of medical care of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck. Rotating exhibits highlight topics from the earliest anatomical and medical studies to the latest technologies. LOOK FOR: Old-fashioned tonsil screws and Chinese ear-cleaning instruments.

BOWIE RAILROAD STATION AND HUNTINGTON MUSEUM, 8614 Chestnut Ave., Old Bowie; 301-809-3089; Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4. Free admission and parking.

The town of Bowie grew up around this station, built in 1872 and restored in the 1990s. LOOK FOR: Exhibits on Pullman cars and rail trivia.

BRUNSWICK RAILROAD MUSEUM, 40 W. Potomac St., Brunswick, Md.; 301-834-7100; Thursday and Friday 10 to 2, Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. $1.25 to $5; under three free. Street parking.

Three floors of railroad artifacts, tools, and exhibits. LOOK FOR: The largest scale model B&O railroad layouts depicting the B&O Railroad's main line between DC and Brunswick.

CHESAPEAKE BAY MARITIME MUSEUM, Mill St., St. Michaels; 410-745-2916; March through November 14: daily 9 to 5 (open till 6 from June 1 through September 30). November 15 through February 28: daily 9 to 4. $5 to $10; under six free. Free parking.

The nation's most complete collection of Chesapeake Bay artifacts, visual arts, and indigenous watercraft. IN JUNE: "At Play on the Bay," showcasing recreational boats and more than 400 photographs and historical objects.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH RAILWAY MUSEUM, 4155 Mears Ave., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-3892; May through September: daily 1 to 4. April and October: weekends 1 to 4 and by appointment. Free admission and parking.

The vision of a railroad builder from Colorado, the museum is part of a century-old railway station. Exhibits include railroad memorabilia and information about the towns of Chesapeake Beach and North Beach and early 20th-century resorts. MAY 15: Spring Family Fun Day, with craft activities for children and dance performances.

COLLEGE PARK AVIATION MUSEUM, 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Dr., College Park; 301-864-6029; Daily 10 to 5, except major holidays. $2 to $4; under two free. Free parking.

Home to a replica of the 1909 hangar where Wilbur Wright gave flying lessons to military pilots. See Orville Wright's stopwatch and ribs from a Wright airplane. SPECIAL EXHIBIT: "Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens," with photos outlining the development of the Wright machines.

ELLICOTT CITY B&O RAILROAD STATION MUSEUM, 2711 Maryland Ave., Ellicott City; 410-461-1944; Fridays and Saturdays 11 to 3:30, Sundays noon to 4:30. $3 to $5; under two free. Street parking and pay lot.

America's first railroad station. Learn about the role of the station during World War II and see the newly restored caboose. THROUGH NOVEMBER: "World War II: The Homefront" details life in Howard County and Ellicott City during the war.

GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, 8800 Greenbelt Rd., Greenbelt; 301-286-2000; Tuesday through Friday 9 to 5, Saturday and Sunday noon to 4. Free admission and parking.

See displays on Arctic climate changes, gorillas, and solar storms. BLAST OFF: Model-rocket launches at 1 PM on May 1, June 5, July 3 and 17, and August 7. Visitors may bring their own rockets.

HISTORICAL ELECTRONICS MUSEUM, 1745 W. Nursery Rd., Linthicum; 410-765-0230; Monday through Friday 9 to 3, Saturday 10 to 2. Free admission and parking.

Displays a variety of electronics–radar, satellites, and telegraphs among them–along with books and papers on electronics history. WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY: Take lessons and get a license in amateur radio operation.

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, 2100 C St., NW; 202-334-2436, Monday to Friday 9 to 5. Free admission and parking. Photo identification needed to enter. Metro: Foggy Bottom/GWU.

Hosts small exhibitions focused on the arts, sciences, engineering, and medicine. THROUGH JULY 15: "Absorption & Transmission: Work by Mike and Doug Starn," with photographs that compare the structure of flora and the human body.

NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM, Seventh St. and Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-1000; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: L'Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian.

Shuttle ($12 a person) to the museum's annex, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, at 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly. Udvar-Hazy parking: $12.

The most visited museum in the world, with 50,000 aeronautical and space artifacts. In the downtown building, see the Apollo 11 command module, take a ride in a flight simulator, or learn about GPS systems. The new Udvar-Hazy Center houses more than 100 aircraft and space artifacts in a ten-story hangarlike facility. LAST CHANCE: The first airplane to fly, the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer, will be on the floor of the downtown building through October 17, when it will again be suspended from the ceiling.

NATIONAL AQUARIUM, 14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-482-2825, Daily 9 to 4:30. $2 to $5; under two free. Street parking, pay lots. Metro: Federal Triangle.

Housed in the Department of Commerce basement, the aquarium has more than 200 species of fresh and saltwater marine life. AUGUST 13: Shark Day, with fossil shark teeth on display.

NATIONAL CAPITAL TROLLEY MUSEUM, 1313 Bonifant Rd., Colesville; 301-384-6088; January through November: Saturdays and Sundays noon to 5. Free admission and parking. Metro: Glenmont.

Highlights include 17 streetcars from DC and other cities and a scale-model layout representing a Washington streetscape from the 1930s. In December, the museum has trolley rides ($2 to $3; under two free) from 5 to 9 PM Saturday and Sunday. MAY 30: "Homefront Street Cars," exploring transit systems during wartime.

NATIONAL CRYPTOLOGIC MUSEUM, 9900 Colony Seven Rd., Fort George G. Meade; 301-688-5849; Monday through Friday 9 to 4, first and third Saturdays 10 to 2. Free admission and parking.

Run by the National Security Agency, the museum hosts a collection focused on military intelligence and codes in US history. TOP SECRET: As part of an exhibit on the NSA's 50th anniversary, see the photos from U-2 spy planes that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MUSEUM AT EXPLORERS HALL, 17th and M sts., NW; 202-857-7588; Monday through Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 10 to 5. Free. Street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

Hosts small exhibitions often focused on expeditions, adventure, and science. THROUGH MAY 30: "Peru: Indigenous and Viceregal" looks at Peru's culture and art with pottery, textiles, and sculpture.

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda; 301-594-1947; Monday through Friday 8:30 to 5, Saturday 8:30 to 12:30. Open until 9 on Thursday from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Free. Meter parking. Metro: Medical Center.

The world's largest medical library. THROUGH NOVEMBER 18: "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians" includes film, photographs, personal mementos, and artifacts from more than 300 women doctors.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, Tenth St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-633-1000; Daily 10 to 5:30 (to 7:30 on Fridays and Saturdays from March 11 through May 21). May 26 through September 4: 10 to 7:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Federal Triangle.

The largest Smithsonian museum has collections in anthropology, zoology, botany, mineral sciences, and entomology, among others. Its mammal collection–showcased in a hall newly renovated for $20 million–is nearly twice as large as any other in the world. THROUGH SEPTEMBER 5: "Allure of Pearls," with rare pearls including the Hope Pearl, the Pearl of Asia, and the Pearl of Kuwait.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE, 6900 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-782-2200; Daily 10 to 5:30. Free admission and parking.

See the bullet that killed Lincoln, touch the inside of a human stomach, and read how surgery is done on the battlefield. THROUGH JUNE: "The Human Body Revealed," with colorful images of the body's organs and internal structures made using ultramicroscopes, MRIs, and full-body scans.

NATIONAL ZOO, 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-673-4800; Daily 10 to 6; grounds 6 AM to 8 PM. October through March: 10 to 4:30; grounds 6 AM to 6 PM. Free. Limited pay lots. Metro: Woodley Park/National Zoo.

Home to 2,700 animals of 435 species. The giant pandas usually get the limelight, but recent stars include Sumatran tiger cubs, the zoo's first litter of cheetahs, and new male and female Bornean orangutans–the zoo's first breeding orangutans in 13 years. COMING SOON: Officials recently broke ground on Asia Trail, which will bring together the giant pandas with other Asian animals such as sloth bears, fishing cats, and red pandas.

OCTAGON MUSEUM, 1799 New York Ave., NW; 202-638-3221; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 4. $3 to $5. Street parking. Metro: Farragut West and North.

The oldest US museum dedicated to architecture and design. OPENING MAY 18: "The Initiated Eye: Secrets, Symbols, Freemasonry, and the Architecture of Washington, DC."

RADIO & TELEVISION MUSEUM, 2608 Mitchellville Rd., Bowie; 301-390-1020; Saturday and Sunday 1 to 4; groups by appointment on weekdays. Free admission and parking.

Watch commercials from the 1950s and see a spark-gap transmitter similar to the one on the Titanic. MAY 14: Radio personality Willard Scott's Joy Boys partner Ed Walker visits from 1 to 4. Excerpts from The Joy Boys programs will be played.

SMITHSONIAN NATURALIST CENTER, 741 Miller Dr., SE, Suite G2, Leesburg; 800-729-7725, 703-779-9712; Tuesday through Saturday 10:30 to 4. Free admission and parking.

Use microscopes, measuring tools, and other professional science equipment to do hands-on work in anthropology and the life and earth sciences. LOOK FOR: "Museum Mysteries": Conduct research and solve real scientific mysteries.

–Mayank Bubna


Where All History Is Local

ALEXANDRIA ARCHAEOLOGY MUSEUM, TORPEDO FACTORY ARTS CENTER, Studio 327, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria; 703-838-4399; Tuesday through Friday 10 to 3, Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. Free. Street parking. Metro: King Street.

Discover archaeological finds ranging from prehistoric stone tools to a 19th-century porcelain tea service. LOOK FOR: Free family art nights the second Thursday of the month.

ALEXANDRIA BLACK HISTORY MUSEUM, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria; 703-838-4356; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 4. Free admission and parking. Metro: Braddock Road.

Documents the local and national history, culture, and contributions of African Americans. The museum's chief structure was originally the segregated library for Alexandria's African-American residents. JUNE 18: The annual Juneteenth street festival celebrates emancipation from slavery with food, music, and readings.

AMERICAN RED CROSS MUSEUM, Red Cross Square, 1730 E St., NW; 202-639-3300; Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4. Free. Street parking. Metro: Farragut West and North.

Built as a tribute to the women of World War I, this marble building is home to a collection that traces the history of the Red Cross. ON EXHIBIT: Photography and art of Paris during World War I.

ANACOSTIA MUSEUM, 1901 Fort Pl., SE; 202-287-3306; Daily 10 to 5. Free admission and parking. Metro: Anacostia.

Explores African-American history, culture, and society. The museum's collection dates to the early 1800s and includes paintings, photos, textiles, musical instruments, and furniture. ON DISPLAY: Quilt with patches designed by 13 local African-American men and dedicated to urban youth.

ARLINGTON HISTORICAL MUSEUM, 1805 S. Arlington Ridge Rd., Arlington; 703-892-4204; March through January: weekends 1 to 4. Street parking. Metro: Pentagon City, Crystal City.

A collection of Arlington history housed in the oldest school building in Arlington, from 1891. ON EXHIBIT: "Building the Pentagon: 1942-1943."

BASILICA OF THE NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, 400 Michigan Ave., NE; 202-526-8300; November through March: daily 7 to 6. April through October: daily 7 to 7. Free admission and parking. Metro: Brookland/Catholic University.

One of the largest churches in the world, the Basilica has been open since 1924. SUMMER SUNDAYS: Free carillon and organ concerts at 5:30 PM each Sunday June through August.

BENJAMIN BANNEKER HISTORIC PARK & MUSEUM,300 Oella Ave., Catonsville; 410-887-1081; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 4. Free admission and parking.

Park and museum dedicated to the self-educated astronomer and mathematician. Exhibits include artifacts from the Banneker family farm, most notably a lead gun shot, iron kettle, and tobacco-pipe bowl. WHAT'S NEW: An improved main gallery scheduled to open this summer.

FAIRFAX MUSEUM AND VISITORS CENTER, 10209 Main St., Fairfax; 703-385-8414; Daily 9 to 5. Free admission and parking.

Housed in a former elementary school built in 1873 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Documents regional history and offers historical walking tours of the city. LOOK FOR: History lectures the second Sunday of each month.

FAIRFAX STATION RAILROAD MUSEUM, 11200 Fairfax Station Rd., Fairfax Station; 703-425-9225; Sunday 1 to 4. $1 to $2; under four free. Free parking.

Replica of the last operating railroad station in Fairfax County, which closed in 1973. Houses a collection of Civil War, Red Cross, and railroad artifacts and memorabilia. LOOK FOR: Model-train displays the third Sunday of every month through November.

GADSBY'S TAVERN MUSEUM, 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria; 703-838-4242; April through October: Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday and Monday 1 to 5. November through March: Wednesday through Saturday 11 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. $2 to $4; under 11 free. Street parking. Metro: King Street.

Housed in an 18th-century tavern and hotel, the museum displays clothing, furniture, and diningware. LANTERN TOURS: Friday through September. Reservations recommended.

GREENBELT MUSEUM, 15 Crescent Rd., Greenbelt; 301-474-1936; Daily 9 to 9. Free admission and parking.

Built as a New Deal planned community, Greenbelt is now a National Historic Landmark. The museum offers walking tours and lectures as part of its mission to preserve Greenbelt history. ON EXHIBIT: Sports, health, and fitness during the New Deal era.

GUM SPRINGS MUSEUM & CULTURAL CENTER, 8100 Fordson Rd., Alexandria; 703-799-1198; Monday through Friday 6 to 8 PM, Tuesday and Saturday 1 to 3.

Aims to preserve the history of Gum Springs, an African-American community for freed slaves begun during George Washington's time. AUGUST 27: A cultural fair celebrates Gum Springs with food and arts-and-crafts vendors.

HISTORIC LONDON TOWN & GARDENS, 839 Londontown Rd., Edgewater; 410-222-1919; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 4; Sunday noon to 4. $3 to $7. Free parking.

A 23-acre park on the South River near Annapolis. Archaeologists continue to excavate the late 17th- and early 18th-century town of London. The grounds also include gardens and a historical house. LOOK FOR: Art exhibits on June weekends.

INTERIOR MUSEUM, 1849 C St., NW; 202-208-4743; Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4:30, third Saturday of the month 1 to 4. Free. Street parking. Metro: Farragut West and North.

Interprets the agency's history and work handling national parks and the nation's public lands. ON EXHIBIT: Edison's first phonograph, Red Cloud's buckskin shirt, and a first edition of Carl Sandburg's America Songbag.

JEFFERSON PATTERSON PARK & MUSEUM, 10515 Mackall Rd., St. Leonard, Md.; 410-586-8500; April 15 through October 15: Wednesday through Sunday 10 to 5. Free admission and parking.

Explores southern Maryland's archaeological and agricultural heritage. SOON: More than a mile of trails along the Chesapeake Bay shoreline.

LAUREL MUSEUM, 817 Main St., Laurel; 301-725-7975; Wednesday and Friday 10 to 2, Sunday 1 to 4. Groups by appointment. Free. Street parking.

A former home for mill workers, the building now exhibits Laurel history. LOOK FOR: A collection of postcards with images of Laurel from circa 1907 through today.

LOUDOUN MUSEUM, 16 Loudoun St., Leesburg; 703-777-7427; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5; Sunday 1 to 5. $1 to $3. Street parking.

The history of Loudoun through furniture, diaries, and photographs. Includes notable collection of Southern textiles. ON EXHIBIT: Artifacts and documents depicting life during the French and Indian War.

THE LYCEUM: ALEXANDRIA'S HISTORY MUSEUM,201 S. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-838-4994; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. Free admission and parking. Metro: King Street.

Collects and interprets artifacts from the city's history. The museum's building is considered one of the country's best examples of Greek Revival architecture. May 21: Vintage car show.

MANASSAS MUSEUM, 9101 Prince William St., Manassas; 703-368-1873; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5. $2 to $3; under six free. Free parking.

Documents Northern Virginia history, particularly its role in the Civil War. Offers videos and artifacts interpreting the war's impact. OPENING JULY 22: An exhibit on Civil War espionage.

MUSEUM OF THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY,901 Amherst St., Winchester; 540-662-1473; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 4. $6 to $12. Free parking.

This newly opened museum explores the valley's history with historical and decorative-arts displays. SHOWING NOW: Virginia landscape watercolors by Pierre Daura.

OLD POST OFFICE TOWER, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-606-8691; Memorial Day through Labor Day: Monday through Saturday 9 to 7:45, Sunday 10 to 6. Labor Day through Memorial Day: Monday through Friday 9 to 4:45, Saturday and Sunday 10 to 5:45. Free. Street parking. Metro: Federal Triangle.

Considered obsolete 15 years after its construction, the tower–part of a Richardsonian Romanesque building–has survived a century of threats to tear it down. HIGH POINT: The tower has views of the Capitol, the White House, and the Washington and Jefferson monuments.

SANDY SPRING MUSEUM, 17901 Bentley Rd., Sandy Spring; 301-774-0022; Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9 to 4, Saturday and Sunday noon to 4. $3. Free parking.

Located in a Quaker-style building similar to those built by Sandy Spring's settlers, the museum concentrates on the town's history. JUNE 4: Strawberry Festival, with music, crafts, and historic demonstrations.

ST. CLEMENT'S ISLAND-POTOMAC RIVER MUSEUM, 38370 Point Breeze Rd., Colton's Point; 301-769-2222; March 25 through September 30: Monday through Friday 9 to 5, Saturday and Sunday noon to 5. October 1 through March 24: Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4. $1; under 12 free. Free parking.

Traces the voyage of Maryland's first settlers, who came to the island in 1634. The museum includes first-hand accounts of their journey. LOOK FOR: An exhibit about the settlers' negotiations with Indians for a permanent settlement.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1 First St., NE; 202-479-3030; Monday through Friday 9 to 4:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Capitol South, Union Station.

The Supreme Court had no permanent home until 1935, the 146th year of its existence. Visitors can attend court sessions or lectures, view exhibits and films, and take tours of the building. LOOK FOR: Busts of all former chief justices.

US CAPITOL, Capitol Hill; 202-225-6827; Monday through Saturday 9 to 4:30. Free. Street parking. Metro: Capitol South, Union Station. Guided tours offered every ten minutes from 9 through 3:30. Entry passes are available each morning starting at 9; line forms at the Garfield traffic circle at Maryland Ave. and First St., SW.

Although its visitors center will not be completed until spring 2006, the Capitol is still open for daily tours. LOOK FOR: Historical paintings in the Rotunda include John Gadsby Chapman's Baptism of Pocahontas and John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence.

WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL, Massachusetts and Wisconsin aves., NW; 202-537-6200; Monday through Friday 10 to 5:30, Saturday 10 to 4:30, Sunday 8 to 6:30. $1 to $3. Street parking.

Nearly 700,000 worshippers and visitors come to the United States' second-largest cathedral each year. Martin Luther King Jr. preached his final Sunday sermon here. LOOK FOR: The cathedral's three rose windows symbolizing mankind's birth, death, and redemption.

–Katie Volin


The Great Outdoors

AUDUBON NATURALIST SOCIETY SANCTUARIES, Chevy Chase, Clifton, Leesburg; 301-652-5964; Daily sunrise to sunset. Free admission and parking.

Sanctuaries include trails, streams, and wildflower meadows. AT LEESBURG: See Yoecomico, a manor house with small nature center.

BROOKSIDE GARDENS, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton; 301-962-1400; Daily sunrise to sunset, conservatories daily 10 to 5. Free admission and parking.

Each fall, nearly 40,000 bulbs are planted in the 11 gardens and two indoor conservatories. OPENING MAY 7: "Wings of Fancy," an indoor butterfly show. $3.50 to $4.50.

FRYING PAN PARK, 2709 W. Ox Rd., Herndon; 703-437-9101; Daily sunrise to sunset. Free parking and admission.

This working farm with old schoolhouse and country store showcases early 20th-century life. HAY FEVER: Take a hayride ($2) through fields and pastures and see newborn lambs, piglets, and calves.

HUNTLEY MEADOWS PARK, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria; 703-768-2525; Daily 9 to 5; closed Tuesdays. Free admission and parking.

Hike through wetlands and forest looking for dragonflies, herons, and more than 200 species of birds. MAY 1: Wetlands Awareness Day features wildlife presentations and a kids' fair.

KENILWORTH PARK AND AQUATIC GARDENS, 1550 Anacostia Ave., NE; 202-426-6905; Daily 7 to 4. Free parking and admission.

An urban oasis. Find turtles and butterflies among the flowering lilies and lotuses. JULY 16: Water Lily Festival features workshops, shows, and a photo contest.

PATUXENT RESEARCH REFUGE, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel; 301-497-5760; Daily 10 to 5:30. Tram tours: weekends until end of June and daily through end of summer; $1 to $3. Free admission and parking.

One of the Mid-Atlantic's largest forested areas. Terrain includes forests, meadows, and wetlands. EAGLE EYE: Trams with guides tour habitats of deer, beaver, and more than 200 species of birds.

RIVERBEND PARK, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls; 703-759-9018; Wednesday through Monday 7 to sunset. Free admission and parking.

Bordering the Potomac, these 400-acre woods offers a variety of animal classes ($5) for kids and parents. IN MAY: "All About Ants"; call for times.

ROCK CREEK PARK NATURE CENTER, 5200 Glover Rd., NW; 202-895-6070; Wednesday through Sunday 9 to 5. Free admission and parking.

Explore Rock Creek Park's wildlife and forest and enjoy the stars at the planetarium. Programs include scavenger hunts and animal-feeding demonstrations. SUMMER CAMPS AND PROGRAMS: Among the topics are space exploration and Rock Creek animals.

US BOTANIC GARDEN, 100 Maryland Ave., SW; 202-225-8333; Daily 9 to 5. Outdoor gardens daily sunrise to sunset. Free. Street parking. Metro: Federal Center Southwest.

Travel through ecosystems and enjoy palm trees and orchids from a lofted walkway. NEW PERMANENT EXHIBIT: "How Plants Work: A Guide to Being Green." Explore life as a plant.

US NATIONAL ARBORETUM, 3501 New York Ave., NE; 202-245-2726; Daily 8 to 5; National Bonsai and Penjing Museum daily 10 to 3:30. Free admission and parking. Metro: Stadium/Armory.

See the Washington Youth Garden, herb garden, and floating lilies on this 446-acre campus. The Bonsai and Penjing Museum is dedicated to the Japanese and Chinese art of tree sculpting. THROUGH JUNE: "Conservation Portraits: Botanical Illustrations of Japan's Endangered Plants."

–Kate Ghiloni

Historical Houses

Grand Homes of the Past

ARLINGTON HOUSE, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington; 703-235-1530; Daily 9:30 to 4:30. Free. Metro: Arlington Cemetery.

A national memorial to Robert E. Lee, who lived here with his wife, Mary Custis, for 30 years. LOOK FOR: The second-floor bedchamber, where Lee wrote his US Army resignation letter before the Civil War.

BEALL-DAWSON HOUSE, 103 W. Montgomery Ave., Rockville; 301-762-1492; Tuesday through Saturday noon to 4. $2 to $3; under six free. Free parking.

Federal-style 1815 home featuring period rooms and changing exhibitions. LOOK FOR: Slave quarters for the six to eight household slaves.

BELLE GROVE PLANTATION, 336 Belle Grove Rd., Middletown; 540-869-2028; April through October: 10 to 4. $3 to $7. Free parking.

Built from limestone quarried on the property, this 1797 manor claims to be the region's only authentic antebellum plantation. MAY 7: Of Ale and History, with a tasting of microbrews and imported beer.

BEN LOMOND MANOR HOUSE AND OLD ROSE GARDEN, 10311 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas; 703-361-7126; Free admission and parking.

This Federal-style home sits miles from where the two battles of Manassas were fought. The house is believed to have been used as a military hospital for Union and Confederate soldiers. DON'T MISS: Signatures on the wall from Union soldiers.

CARLYLE HOUSE HISTORIC PARK, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria; 703-549-2997; April through October: Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 4:30, Sunday noon to 4:30. November through March: closes a half hour earlier. $2 to $4. Street parking. Metro: King Street.

A 1753 Palladian mansion named after owner John Carlyle, one of Alexandria's founders. JUNE 28 AND SEPTEMBER 11: The house offers free hands-on history events, with quill-and-ink writing stations, 18th-century costumes, and games.

DARNALL'S CHANCE HOUSE MUSEUM, 14800 Governor Oden Bowie Dr., Upper Marlboro; 301-952-8010; Friday 10 to 4, Sunday noon to 4. By appointment Tuesday through Thursday. $1 to $3. Free parking.

The 1742 house was restored in 1988. JUNE 19 THROUGH SUMMER: An exhibit on Colonial-era pets.

DODONA MANOR, 217 Edwards Ferry Rd., Leesburg; 703-777-1880; June 1 through September 1: Thursday 10 to 3. $5 to $10. Free parking.

The former home of World War II general George C. Marshall. Purchased for restoration in 1995, the site will be completed by next fall's Veterans Day. Tours of the unfinished home are available June 2 through September 1.

DUMBARTON HOUSE, 2715 Q St., NW; 202-337-2288; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 2. $5. Free parking. Metro: Dupont Circle.

This Federal-period house features Federal and Chippendale furniture as well as paintings, silver, and ceramics. WHAT'S NEW: One of the five known original copies of the Articles of Confederation.

GUNSTON HALL PLANTATION, 10709 Gunston Rd., Mason Neck; 703-550-9220; Daily 9:30 to 5. $4 to $8. Free parking.

This Georgian house was home to Revolutionary War thinker George Mason. JUNE 5 AND 12: "Slavery and Freedom" tours offer a look at slave life on the plantation.

LEE-FENDALL HOUSE MUSEUM AND GARDEN, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria; 703-548-1789; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. $2 to $4; under 11 free. Limited free parking. Metro: Braddock Road.

Alexandria's oldest Lee family home was built as an urban plantation house in 1785 and renovated in Greek Revival style nearly 70 years later. IN THE GARDEN: See roses and a magnolia planted in the mid-1800s.

MARIETTA HOUSE MUSEUM, 5626 Bell Station Rd., Glenn Dale; 301-464-5291; Friday 11 to 3, Saturday and Sunday noon to 4. $1 to $3; under four free. Free parking.

This 1813 Federal-style home belonged to Supreme Court associate justice Gabriel Duvall. Appointed to reflect three generations of Duvalls, it features furniture and artifacts from the Federal, Civil War, and Victorian eras.

MONTPELIER MANSION, Rt. 197 and Muirkirk Rd., Laurel; 301-953-1376; March through November: Sunday through Thursday noon to 3. December through February: Sunday 1 to 2. $1 to $3; under four free. Free parking.

Afternoon tea is offered on some Fridays at this 1780s Georgian mansion, a National Historic Landmark on 70 acres overlooking the Patuxent River. JULY 15 THROUGH JULY 24: Tenth annual display of needlework. $3 to $6.

OATLANDS PLANTATION, 20850 Oatlands Plantation La., Leesburg; 703-777-3174; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. $7 to $10. Free parking.

Highlights of this 19th-century plantation include a note from Teddy Roosevelt, photos of George C. Marshall, and other political memorabilia. JULY 10 THROUGH AUGUST 21: Annual art show and sale.

POPLAR HILL ON HIS LORDSHIP'S KINDNESS, 7606 Woodyard Rd., Clinton; 301-856-0358; Thursday and Friday 10 to 4, Sunday noon to 4. $3 to $5. Free parking.

A designated National Historic Landmark, the 1787 Georgian mansion was occupied until 2000 and is being restored. Home to pieces from more than 200 years ago.

RIVERSDALE HOUSE MUSEUM, 4811 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park; 301-864-0420; Friday and Saturday noon to 3:30. $1 to $3; under four free. Free parking.

This early 19th-century plantation house blends Flemish and American architecture. JUNE 29, JULY 27, AND AUGUST 24: Bring a picnic or buy a grilled dinner for a free outdoor concert.

SEWALL-BELMONT HOUSE AND MUSEUM, 144 Constitution Ave., NE; 202-546-1210; Tuesday through Friday 11 to 3, Saturday noon to 4. $5 donation suggested.

Recounts women's struggle for suffrage and equal rights. Built in 1800, the house was home to prominent Washingtonians until it was sold to the National Woman's Party in 1929. ROCK THE VOTE: This year the house celebrates the 85th anniversary of the 19th Amendment with programs and exhibits.

STEPHEN DECATUR HOUSE, 748 Jackson Pl., NW; 202-842-0920; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 4. Free; donation suggested. Limited street parking. Metro: Farragut North and West.

Home to prominent politicians, from namesake naval officer Stephen Decatur to Secretary of State Henry Clay. WHITE HOUSE NEIGHBOR: This 1818 home was the first and last private residence on Lafayette Square.

STRATFORD HALL PLANTATION, 485 Great House Rd., Stratford; 804-493-8038; Daily 9 to 5. $5 to $10; under six free. Free parking.

This brick Georgian house is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. Hiking trails and gardens dot the property. OLD-FASHIONED EATS: The plantation store sells cornmeal, wheat, oats, and barley pancake flour ground at a reconstructed 18th-century gristmill.

SULLY HISTORIC SITE, 3601 Sully Rd., Chantilly; 703-437-1794; Wednesday through Monday 11 to 4. $3 to $5. Free parking.

Owned by Richard Bland Lee, Robert E. Lee's uncle, this Federal-style home was built in 1794. Lee, who lived there with his wife, Elizabeth Collins Lee, was Northern Virginia's first congressman. MAY 21: Reenactors interpret a War of 1812 "call to arms" with troop drills, period tunes, games, and food.

SURRATT HOUSE MUSEUM, 9118 Brandywine Rd., Clinton; 301-868-1121; Thursday and Friday 11 to 3, Saturday and Sunday noon to 4. $1 to $3. Free parking.

John Wilkes Booth fled here after shooting Abraham Lincoln. THROUGH NOVEMBER: The museum marks the 140th anniversary of Lincoln's death with an exhibition that includes details of how Booth's plans turned from kidnapping to murder.

TUDOR PLACE, 1644 31st St., NW; 202-965-0400; Tuesday through Friday 10 to 2:30, Saturday 10 to 3, Sunday noon to 3. $3 to $6. Street parking.

Built by Martha Washington's granddaughter, the 1816 neoclassical home celebrates this year the 200th anniversary of the lot's purchase. RARE GEMS: Tudor has one of the region's finest 19th-century silver collections, with pieces from Tiffany, Kirk, and Gorham.

WEEMS-BOTTS MUSEUM, 3944 Cameron St., Dumfries; 703-221-2218; Tuesday through Saturday 10 to 4. $2 to $3. Limited street parking.

Dumfries, the house, and its prominent residents are documented. MAY 7: Charter Day, behind the museum in Merchant Park. Celebrate the founding of Dumfries with food, games, and entertainment.

WOMAN'S NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB, 1526 New Hampshire Ave., NW; 202-232-7363; Tours by appointment. Street parking. Metro: Dupont Circle.

Features photos and drawings of Democratic presidents and first ladies. THROUGH JULY: Tours of the museum's latest exhibition of presidential-campaign memorabilia.

WOODLAWN, 9000 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria; 703-780-4000; March through December: 10 to 5. $3 to $7.50. Free parking.

Architect of the Capitol William Thornton designed this 1805 house overlooking the Potomac for George Washington, who gave it to Martha Washington's granddaughter Eleanor Custis and her husband, Lawrence Lewis. MAY 7 AND 8: Learn about tea customs of the early 19th century at a Mother's Day event. $25.

–Katie Volin

Military History

Arms and the Man

AIRMEN MEMORIAL MUSEUM, 5211 Auth Rd., Suitland; 800-638-0594; Monday through Friday 8 to 5. Free admission and parking.

See photographs, diaries, and memorabilia from enlisted airmen from 1907 to the present. SINCERELY, ADOLF: Correspondence from airmen in World War II includes a letter on Hitler's personal stationery, obtained from his headquarters.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE MUSEUM, 4674 Griffin Ave., Fort Meade; 301-677-6966; Wednesday through Saturday 11 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. Reservations required 24 hours in advance unless visitors have military or Department of Defense ID. Free admission and parking.

Uniforms, photographs, original artwork, tanks, and missiles. AMERICAN CHOPPER: See the Iroquois helicopter from the late 1950s.

FORT WARD MUSEUM & HISTORIC SITE, 4301 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria; 703-838-4848; Tuesday through Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday noon to 5. Free admission and parking.

This museum and Union fort chronicles Civil War army life with occasional reenactments. Among the artifacts is the Hale Rocket Launcher, used in the 1864 Union bombardment of Charleston, South Carolina, and one of only three known to exist in the United States. JUNE 11 AND 25: Day camps featuring reenactments of Union and Confederate army life.

FORT WASHINGTON PARK, 13551 Fort Washington Rd., Fort Washington; 301-763-4600; April through September: Daily 9 to 5. October through March: Daily 9 to 4:30. $5 a car, $3 a person on foot.

This nearly 200-year-old fort features cannons and artillery demonstrations on the first Sunday of the month. LATE SEPTEMBER: "Universal Soldier" features actors in period clothes from the Romans to the present.

FREEDOM MUSEUM, 10400 Terminal Rd., Manassas; 703-393-0660; Daily 10 to 4. Free admission and parking.

Located at Manassas Regional Airport. Photographs and displays include Medals of Honor, uniforms, and artifacts from men and women in the armed forces. OCTOBER 8 AND 9: Annual Festival of Freedom. Air show will include B-17s and B-24s.

MARINE CORPS MUSEUM, Building 58, Washington Navy Yard, 1254 Charles Morris St., SE; 202-433-3534; Free.

The museum holds personal correspondence, weapons, and the flags raised at Iwo Jima. It closed this spring while work continues on a new museum opening near the Quantico base on November 10, 2006.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN JEWISH MILITARY HISTORY, 1811 R St., NW; 202-265-6280; Monday through Friday 9 to 5, Sunday by appointment. Free. Street parking. Metro: Dupont Circle.

Commemorates American Jews who served in the armed forces. ON EXHIBIT: "Reconnaissance and Recollection," with World War II military and civilian photographs by a military photographer.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CIVIL WAR MEDICINE, 48 E. Patrick St., Frederick; 301-695-1864; Monday through Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 11 to 5. Pry House open Wednesday through Sunday. $4.50 to $6.50. Street parking, pay garage.

Exhibits and dioramas depict medical officers and their equipment, education, and contributions to the war. WHAT'S NEW: Pry House Field Hospital Museum in Sharpsburg, featuring period demonstrations in a barn turned into a hospital during the battle at Antietam.

OLD GUARD MUSEUM, Building 249, Sheridan Ave., Fort Myer, Arlington; 703-696-6670. Monday through Saturday 9 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. Free admission and parking. Photo identification needed for entrance. Metro: Arlington Cemetery.

Dedicated to the Army's ceremonial unit and presidential escort. Collection includes artifacts from more than two centuries. WHAT'S NEW: An exhibit on Old Guard deployment highlights trips to Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR MUSEUM, Rt. 235 and Pegg Rd., Lexington Park; 301-863-7418; Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5. Free admission and parking.

One of only 11 naval museums in the nation authorized by the Navy. Experience flying a plane in a cockpit simulator or see wind-tunnel models and plane engines. LOOK FOR: Fighter-pilot helmets, unmanned airplanes, and jet-propulsion systems.

US NAVY MUSEUM, Washington Navy Yard, Ninth and M sts., SE; 202-433-4882; Monday through Friday 9 to 4, weekends and holidays 10 to 5. Free admission and parking (vehicle passes issued at the museum). Reservations required 24 hours in advance unless visitor has military or Department of Defense identification. Metro: Navy Yard, Eastern Market.

Highlights the Navy's contributions in exploration, diplomacy, navigation, and humanitarian service. Tour a Cold War-era destroyer and see World War II movable gun mounts. JULY AND AUGUST: Summer Seafaring Days feature maritime craftmaking for kids, from signal flags to periscopes.

WARREN RIFLES CONFEDERATE MUSEUM, 95 Chester St., Front Royal; 540-636-6982; April 16 through October 31: Monday through Saturday 9 to 4, Sunday 1 to 4. By appointment the rest of the year. $4; students free. Free parking.

Maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the museum showcases Civil War memorabilia, including battle flags and cavalry equipment. BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Exhibits feature Mosby's Rangers and Confederate spy Belle Boyd.

WOMEN IN MILITARY SERVICE FOR AMERICA MEMORIAL, Ceremonial Entrance, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington; 800-222-2294; April through September: daily 8 to 7. October through March: daily 8 to 5. Free. Pay parking lot. Metro: Arlington Cemetery.

Commemorating women who served in or supported the US military, exhibits range from uniforms to the Comfort Quilt sewn aboard the USNS Comfort in Iraq. WHAT'S NEW: "Faces of the Fallen" features more than 1,300 portraits done by American artists of men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Runs through Veterans Day.

–Kate Ghiloni

In Baltimore

The Babe, Dolphins, and Gauguin

AMERICAN VISIONARY ART MUSEUM, 800 Key Hwy.; 410-244-1900; Showcases self-taught artists. Main exhibition through September 4 focuses on water in art.

BABE RUTH BIRTHPLACE AND MUSEUM, 216 Emory St.; 410-727-1539; For fans of the Babe. On May 14, the museum opens Sports Legends at Camden Yards, which will focus on Maryland sports history.

BALTIMORE MARITIME MUSEUM, Pier 3 at the Inner Harbor; 410-396-3453; Naval history presented through three vessels–the Coast Guard cutter Taney, the World War II submarine Torsk, and the 20th-century lightship Chesapeake–and a Chesapeake-style lighthouse.

BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART, Art Museum Dr. at N. Charles and 31st sts.; 410-396-7100; Home to a strong collection of post-Impressionists, including Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso, van Gogh, Gauguin.

BALTIMORE & OHIO RAILROAD MUSEUM, 901 W. Pratt St.; 410-752-2490; Recently reopened after roof collapse led to extensive renovation and expansion.

CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM, 100 W. Centre St.; 410-783-5720; Hosts temporary exhibits. "Patriots," with politically themed art, runs through June 11; exhibit closed May 5 through 11.

GLENN L. MARTIN MARYLAND AVIATION MUSEUM, 701 Wilson Point Rd., Hangar 5, Suite 531, Baltimore; 410-682-6122; Explores Maryland aviation and space history.

JEWISH MUSEUM OF MARYLAND, 15 Lloyd St.; 410-732-6400; Art, photographs, clothing, rare books, documents, oral histories, and memorabilia.

MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER, 601 Light St.; 410-685-5225; Artifacts from the Titanic through September 5.

NATIONAL AQUARIUM IN BALTIMORE, 501 E. Pratt St.; 410-576-3800; Tanks of sharks and coral-reef fish surround visitors.

PORT DISCOVERY, 35 Market Pl.; 410-727-8120; Features hands-on educational exhibits–including a 1950s diner, Egyptian adventure, and an urban tree house–for tots through preteens. "Alice's Wonderland" offers science experiments.

WALTERS ART MUSEUM, 600 N. Charles St.; 410-547-9000; Artwork from antiquity through the 20th century. See a fourth-century Byzantine vase, Manet's The Café Concert, and a Ming-dynasty wine jar.