Uncover the Historical and Cultural Gems of Washington, D.C.

Welcome to the interactive course guide for The Great Tours: Washington, D.C.. Here you will find select content from the course, as well as quizzes, reader polls, interactive maps, further reading suggestions, and more.

National Archives building in Washington D.C.

The National Archives and the Future of D.C.

Learn about the treasures within the National Archives, including original copies of America’s founding documents, historic murals, and the poignant Records of Rights exhibit. Revisit the history of D.C., and consider city plans that were never realized, “disappeared” Washington, and proposals for the city’s future. Conclude with thoughts on the dynamic, changing environment of D.C.
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Richard Kurin Photo

Presented by Professor Richard Kurin, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard Kurin is the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture. In this position, he oversees most of the Smithsonian’s national museums, libraries, and archives, as well as several of its research and outreach programs. Dr. Kurin holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Philosophy from the University at Buffalo—The State University of New York. He earned both his M.A. and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Dr. Kurin has worked at the Smithsonian for almost four decades, starting with the Bicentennial of the United States in 1976.