Cultural Tourism DC is grateful to this year's cohort of volunteer tour guides for our inaugural VIRTUAL WalkingTown DC. Due to the pandemic, our longest-running program continues online. Without the bounds of a walkable tour, it enables some guides to offer a more expansive tour.
We are especially pleased to welcome back previous guides and to welcome a contingent of members of The Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C. many of whom have felt the devastating economic effects of COVID-19. Please read the tour guides' descriptions of their tours and then register for an exciting virtual DC experience. Space is limited. Register soon.
A Virtual Walk of the Kennedy Homes in Georgetown
Stroll the streets of Georgetown to see the residences that John and Jackie Kennedy called home and learn about other sites in their Georgetown neighborhood.
Your tour guide: Maria Limarzi, CMG, The Guild
American Dream(s): Exploring Identity, Experience, and Memory of Household Staff at the Brewmaster's Castle
Join us on a journey back in time while we explore the Brewmaster's Castle, a Victorian-era mansion located in Dupont Circle. The mansion, which was built from 1892-94, was the home of German immigrant, local brewer, and philanthropist Christian Heurich. In addition to exploring the home, seeing the original Victorian-era interiors, and discovering its technological advancements, you will learn about the household staff who worked for the family! While viewing behind-the-scenes spaces, we'll investigate the factors that shaped their identity, experiences, and memory!
Your tour guide: Jenna Febrizio, Education Manager, Heurich House Museum and PhD Candidate in History
Behind the Canvas
This virtual experience is an overview of the permanent art collection at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and intimate conversations with local artists. Engage live with a curator and watch filmed interviews with three of the 93 artists whose work is among the 137 pieces of sculpture, painting, and photography on display in DC's Convention Center. Filmed in July 2020, Alfred Smith, Stephen Hendee, and Rik Freeman wore face coverings and observed six-foot social distancing while discussing their work and creative process. Learn about the Shaw Wall, a 72-foot art piece that honors and celebrates the Shaw community, the neighborhood in which the Convention Center is located, and more.
Your tour guide: Robin Moore, Art Curator, Walter E. Washington Convention Center Art Collection
Behind the Scenes at Nationals Park
Home of the 2019 world championship Washington Nationals baseball team, Nationals Park is in the top 20 baseball stadiums in the U.S. A Nationals Park tour guide since 2010, Maria will show you the hidden areas of the ballpark, including the Press Box, Home Clubhouse and some of the clubs and suites you wish you could afford!
Your tour guide: Maria Limarzi, GCG, The Guild
Black Lives Matter Plaza: Its Short Colorful History
In June, during protests after George Floyd's killing, a bold two-block-long yellow mural suddenly appeared, proclaiming Black Lives Matter. DC government gave that stretch of 16th Street across from the White House a meaningful new name: Black Lives Matter Plaza. Hear about how it popped up overnight and what happens at the site now. In addition, locate the spot where civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis stood in his last public appearance and retrace the route officers used to forcefully clear historic peaceful protestors in advance of a controversial presidential photo op at historic St. John's Church. Finally, sample the emotion of signs left by protesters and pass through a security fence to enter Lafayette Park to see how it has changed, too.
Your tour guide: Brenda Turner, GCG, The Guild
Brookland: Rural, Suburban and Urban
The institutional acreage, federal land and a preserved system of military and colonial roads found in Brookland recall its rural origins. Its varied architectural styles offer insights into how suburban development progressed. The work of architects active throughout the city in the institutional and residential markets, as well as a cadre of Howard University-trained architects is evident as one travels through Brookland today. The homes of well-remembered as well as now-forgotten luminaries can be seen throughout the neighborhood, among them Ralph Bunche, John Preston Davis, Walter and Jean Kerr, Carrie Harrison, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Sterling Brown and Theodore Holmes. Your tour guide's long tenure in Brookland and life-long curiosity concerning his neighborhood have given him stories and insights passed on to him by elders who saw the neighborhood change throughout the 20th century. This year's virtual format gives him the opportunity to share views of sites not usually included on an in-person walking tour.
Your tour guide: John Feeley Jr., neighborhood native, historian and author
Capitol Hill Alphabet Animal Art Sculpture Walk
Visit and learn about the Capitol Hill Alphabet Animal Art Project (CHAAAP) sculptures, their stories, and the vision of the artists who created them! In 2014, 10 sculptures were successfully installed through a pilot partnership with DC Department of Transportation. A recent grant from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities will fund the installation of 10 additional sculptures throughout Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B. A father walking with his two children in Capitol Hill originally conceived the Animal Alphabet Art project. As he walked past lettered street names, he pointed out, "K Street—K is for Kangaroo." He brought the idea to the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), and so the Alphabet Animals were born. CHAW engaged with nearly all of the original artists to broaden the span of the Alphabet Animal "path."
Your tour guide: Hannah Blumenfeld, Project Manager for Capitol Hill Alphabet Animal Art Project
Dark Side of Dupont Circle and Embassy Row Supported by Douglas Miller
Learn about the scandalous stories behind the most stately buildings in Washington, DC. Money, power, politics, and influence came together in the Gilded Age to change the face of the neighborhood – and the city. Your virtual tour will highlight mansions and embassy buildings along and near Embassy Row and share with you the characters and events that took place behind the elegant facades.
Your tour guide: Rebecca Grawl, Licensed D.C. tour guide and public historian
Frederick Law Olmsted and the U.S. Capitol Grounds - Supported by Balance Consulting Group
Commissioned by Congress in 1874 to design the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Frederick Law Olmsted created an innovative landscape. Explore the history and design of the Capitol Grounds while learning about its intricate features: the Olmsted-designed marble terraces; brick Summerhouse; masterful stone and ironwork; and carefully planned views and circulation paths.
Your tour guides: Steve Livengood, Director, Public Programs and Chief Guide, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, and Carla Smith, GCMG, The Guild
Freethinker: Robert G. Ingersoll in Washington
Learn about the famous Freethinker, Robert G. Ingersoll, who lived and worked in Washington, DC for seven years, from 1878 to 1885. Visit the places he spoke, worked and lived. Learn about his connections with the White House.
Your tour guide: Steven Lowe
Hidden History on the Hill
Barracks Row and the Navy Yard were once the industrial, medical, and musical heart of Capitol Hill. Let's meet by Eastern Market, and then see the Old Naval Hospital before heading to Eighth Street, aka Barracks Row. You'll see an authentic Main Street, including John Philip Sousa's former music school. His boyhood home is a short block away. At age 13, Sousa was such an accomplished musician that a circus band leader lured him away from the drab, industrial neighborhood he knew. Sousa might have been another circus runaway. Instead, his father dragged him to the Barracks, and enrolled him as a 13-year-old apprentice musician. He would compose the "Stars and Stripes Forever," while leading the Marine Band. The tune is played at his gravesite in Congressional Cemetery, just 20 minutes away.
Your tour guide: Tony Spadafora, GCG, The Guild, and local resident
Hidden in Plain Sight on the National Mall
How well do you know "America's Front Yard"? Join your certified tour guides on a virtual stroll through the best-known memorials on the National Mall and discover some of their least-known features. From the Jefferson pier to Kilroy-was here, from heroic canine soldiers to the ravages of Agent Orange, to standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922 with Tuskegee Institute President Robert Moton and, then in 1963, with a young John Lewis, and much more! See these iconic sites anew, while we consider our ever-changing memorial landscape. If time permits, they'll introduce you to more recent and obscure memorials that deserve attention, including the just-completed Eisenhower Memorial.
Your tour guide: Laura Moore, GCG, and Pat Abler, GCG, The Guild
Irish American Heritage Tour - Supported by Jean & Steve Shulman
The contributions of Irish-Americans throughout American history are many and varied. Explore a few of the Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers, presidents, artists, and others of Irish-American decent who helped establish and shape the United States of America. Hear stories of their challenges, accomplishments, and their connections to Washington, DC.
Your tour guide: Maribeth Oakes, GCMG, The Guild
Lincoln Sites in DC You Likely Don't Know (Yet!)
President Abraham Lincoln is imprinted and memorialized in Washington DC more than any other President is. We all know the Lincoln Memorial and Ford's Theater, and most of us know about Lincoln Park and the Emancipation Statue that has received a great deal of media and cultural scrutiny this summer. But do you know about the original Lincoln memorial? Do you know about the "contraband camp" where Lincoln interacted with recently freed slaves? Do you know about "Lincoln's Commute" across Washington City during much of his presidency? The DC Cycling Concierge will ride this tour live, taking you to numerous sites by bike with his camera, while an additional guide from President Lincoln's Cottage shares historic images and additional accounts of Lincoln and some of his time in DC.
Your tour guide: Jeffrey Miller, Owner/Guide of DC Cycling Concierge
Old Korean Legation Museum and the Restoration Project
Go back in history to learn about the friendship between Korea and the United States from 1888 to present. The Old Korean Legation Museum was home to and built by Seth Phillips, an American Civil War naval hero, politician, and diplomat. Used as the Korean Legation from 1889 to 1905, the Republic of Korea purchased the house a second time in 2012 and undertook a major restoration project to make it a museum. The completed museum opened in 2018 with displays highlighting Korean culture and historic moments in US-Korean relations.
Your tour guide: Minchi Hyun, Public Relations Coordinator, Old Korean Legation Museum
Peirce Mill: 200 Years in the Federal City
Isaac Peirce arrived in Washington in 1795 to find his fortune, eventually amassing 2,000 acres, which today form the majority of Rock Creek Park. The Peirce Mill sits along Rock Creek as a monument to Isaac Peirce. It was built between 1820 and 1829 to grind wheat and corn to make flour. In 2011, Friends of Peirce Mill, in partnership with the National Park Service, restored the mill to partially working order. Learn about the agricultural past of DC, milling genius Oliver Evans, and Isaac Peirce and his family.
Your tour guide: Bill McLeod, Executive Director, Dupont Circle Main Streets
Rainbow Washington: DC's Queer History -- The People, Places, Events
This tour features the highlights of DC's queer history -- the people, places and events. Join your guide as she traces the history of the queer community from Revolutionary War hero to modern day human rights activists. Engage and explore in the discovery of how DC has been a pivotal location for the struggle for equal rights. Celebrate DC's diversity, traditions, and transformation as witnessed in landmark Supreme Court decisions that had an impact on the queer community.
Your tour guide: Ella Schiralli, GCG, The Guild
Southwest DC: The Old and the New
Let's take a look at Southwest DC---its redeveloped waterfront (The Wharf) and the adjacent neighborhood. A working-class neighborhood until the 1950s, Old Southwest was destroyed to create something new in one of the nation's first urban renewal experiments. Now the neighborhood is a mixture of mid-20th century multistory and townhouse residential projects; row houses and apartments; new retail, office, and residential projects; and a few historic and cultural sites. On your tour with Russ, explore how this neighborhood became the mix of land uses and people that you see today.
Your tour guide: Russ Norfleet, GCG, The Guild
Springland Farm and the Foundation of American Viticulture
Founded in 1814, the Springland Farm of John Adlum was arguably the most important vineyard in the history of the United States. To many, Adlum is the Father of American Viticulture. Your tour guide, a local historian and founder of the Springland Farm Community, will tell Adlum's story. He will also talk about the enslaved persons who worked in the vineyard, the fake manumission of these slaves, and Adlum's petition for compensation for them. The latter item contains many interesting facts about the individuals emancipated in 1862. You will also hear about the cholera epidemic that devastated the Adlum family, the evolution of the farmland into the National Bureau of Standards, University of the District of Columbia, the International Chancery Center, and the Whittle School & Studio.
Your tour guide: Chuck Ludlam, Local Historian
Tenleytown to Wesley Heights …Bet you don't realize all that's there!
Where do religion, culture, news, national security and beauty all exist within just over a mile of each other? They are all on and near Nebraska Avenue NW, from Tenleytown to Wesley Heights. This stretch of road is home to the National Presbyterian Church and School and the Methodist Seminary. It's where you'll find the stunning ambassadorial residences of Japan and Sweden and, next to each other, the headquarters of both NBC news and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. American University, with its beautiful arboretum-designated landscaping and rich and somewhat scandalous history, is also located here. And, then, there is Wesley Heights, with its tree-lined streets and current and past residences of interesting people; think Marriott hotels and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – and me, your tour guide!
Your tour guide: Ellen Malasky, President, NFTGA; Board Member, The Guild; GCMG, The Guild; and long-time resident of Wesley Heights
The Mansions of Meridian Hill - Supported by Anonymous Donation.
The neighborhood of Meridian Hill has 15 beautiful mansions dating from the early 20th Century. Join local guide and author Fiona Clem to explore the mansions of the Meridian Hill neighborhood and their significance in the history of the neighborhood. Learn about the unique architecture of the homes, the importance of Meridian Hill Park, and the historical figures that influenced the neighborhood. Sites on the tour include the Mexican Cultural Institute, the old French Embassy and Meridian International Center.
Your tour guide: Fiona Clem, GCG, The Guild, author and long-time resident
The Smithsonian: Tracing the Arc of American Architecture -Supported by Robin Glantz and Anthony Ciccone.
The Smithsonian Institution, our "Nation's Attic," has shaped the fabric of the National Mall since 1855. Washington's most beloved museums trace the arc of American architecture, from the Gothic Smithsonian Castle to the modern Museum of African American History and Culture. Romanesque to Victorian, neoclassical to Brutalist, each unique building is an architectural study all its own. Learn about the style, design, controversy, construction, and fascinating backstory behind these celebrated museums.
Your tour guide: Carolyn Muraskin, Owner of DC Design Tours, GCG, The Guild
Unexpected Places to Find Awesome Art in DC
The art museums of DC's Smithsonian Institution museums are world-famous, but there are secret spaces that art lovers should experience. Follow your tour guide off-the-beaten path for an eye-opening virtual tour across the District. You'll uncover some "hidden" artwork in plain sight!
Your tour guide: Paige Muller, DC resident and founder, Curious Caravan
Walt Whitman in DC
America's poet, Walt Whitman, was a proud adopted son of the nation's capital. Arriving here nearly eight years following the 1855 publication of his landmark Leaves of Grass, Whitman lived and worked in DC for a decade (1863-1873). This is a Rainbow History Project walking tour; the online brochure describing the tour may reviewed here: https://www.rainbowhistory.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/1.pdf
Your tour guide: Rob Berger, DC LGBT History Scholar
GG: Guild Guide
GCG: Guild Certified Guide
GCMG: Guild Certified Master Guide
The Guild: The Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C.
ITMI: International Tour Management Institute
IATDG: International Association Tour Directors and Guides
NFTGA: National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations
WFTGA: World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations