Laura Cohen Apelbaum is a fourth generation Washingtonian who serves as Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. A “history nerd,” she tries to find ways to excite others about local history and architecture with exhibits and programs. When she’s not saving historic synagogues, she enjoys bowling and cooking.
Cultural Tourism DC asked some prominent Washingtonians to share with us their favorite places or events that are special and unique to DC.
Laura shares her top 5.
1. Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum— one of the few remaining synagogues in the country dating from the 19th century that give a “peek” at what life was like for immigrant congregants in the capital city. Surprising for its intimate scale and for being moving to save it from demolition in 1969—with another planned move as part of a large downtown development over the Center leg freeway in planned for the future.
2. Lincoln Memorial at night— never gets old. Really an awe inspiring DC site.
3. The elephant in the rotunda of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum— as a young girl growing up in the area, on visits to the museum, my dad used to tell us that the elephant was winking at us. It’s like visiting an old friend.
4. National Portrait Gallery—This has always been my favorite Smithsonian museum. I love learning American history through portraiture. Made all the better now by the canopy and the aluminum foil throne.
5. The National Archive Vaults— if you wonder how acid-free boxes can be sexy, visit the vaults. It’s a treasure trove for a history buff.
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"I looked at the new brochures for the Deanwood and Civil Rights Heritage Trails. I am always astonished and amazed at the work you do and the quality of it. Beautiful."