Dupont Circle Museums

Explore these lesser-known Washington, DC museums

Dupont Circle is home to a variety of small museums that are interesting to visit and provide exhibits on a range of topics from modern art to political memorabilia to the history of the Communist Party. These lesser-known Washington DC museums take just an hour or two to explore and are rarely crowded. (Listed in Alphabetical Order)

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Anderson House

Anderson House
Rachel Cooper

This 1905 Beaux Arts mansion was the home of American diplomat Larz Anderson and his wife and is now the headquarters of The Society of the Cincinnati, founded in 1783 to preserve the memory of the American Revolution. Visit the museum and experience the history and splendor of Gilded Age Washington.

  • 2118 Massachusetts Ave., NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 785-2040
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The Brewmaster's Castle (Christian Heurich House Museum)

The Brewmaster's Castle
Rachel Cooper

The 31-room Victorian home is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and design and a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available of the late 19th-century home on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Check their website for times and reservations.

  • 1307 New Hampshire Avenue NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 429-1894
03 of 12

Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives

Charles Sumner School Museum
Rachel Cooper

The historic building, built in 1872, was one of the earliest public schools for African American students. Today it serves as the home of the official museum and archives of DC Public Schools. The museum houses school related artifacts that date back to 1804.

  • 17th and M Sts. NW
  • Washington DC
  • (202) 730-0478
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Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center

Fondo del Sol Visual Arts Center
Rachel Cooper

The bilingual, community-based museum is dedicated to the art and cultural heritage of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • 2112 R Street, NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 483-2777
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L. Ron Hubbard House

The L. Ron Hubbard House
Joe Loong/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The museum is the original landmark location of the first Founding Church in the world. Here, the prolific American writer, explorer, and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, trained students, lectured, and worked from 1957 through 1960. L. Ron Hubbard House provides informative exhibits with photographs that give glimpses into Hubbard's early world travels. Visitors can also step into his 1957 office and see his Remington typewriter, Ampex tape recorders, Roneo mimeograph machine, Grundig radio, and personal artifacts.

  • 1812 19th Street NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 234-7490
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Laogai Museum

Laogai Museum‎
Rachel Cooper

The museum was founded in 2008 by Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner Harry Wu to expose China's forced labor prison camp system (the Laogai) and other human rights abuses in China. It covers the history of the Communist Party's reign, highlighting its oppression of the Chinese people from 1949 until the present. It also details the profiles of numerous political prisoners and Laogai camp victims and reveals top-secret internal Communist Party documents about the prison system's structure, regulation, and operation. ‎

  • 1734 20th St NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 408-8300
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The Mansion on O

The Mansion on O
Rachel Cooper

The only museum of its kind, visitors explore over 100 rooms, 30 bathrooms, and 14 kitchens searching for more than 32 secret doors. The collection rotates and changes daily. A wide range of programs are available including artist-in-residence, live concerts, art-leasing, songwriter's workshops, kids programs and more. Online reservations are required.

  • 2020 O St. NW
  • Washington DC
08 of 12

National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall

National Geographic Magazine covers display
greyloch/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The museum features spectacular photography and interactive displays that explore nature and human cultures from all over the world. Special programs include films, lectures, concerts and family events.

  • 17th and M Sts. NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 857-7588
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National Museum of American Jewish Military History

National Museum of American Jewish Military History
Rachel Cooper

The museum highlights the contributions made by Jewish Americans who have served in the armed forces and have worked to combat anti-Semitism.

  • 1811 R St. NW
  • Washington DC
  • (202) 265-6280
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The Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection
NCinDC/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0 

The museum houses one of the world’s most distinguished collections of impressionist and modern American and European art. It combines works of different nationalities and periods in displays that change frequently. Artists represented in the collection include Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Claude Monet, Honoré Daumier, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Mark Rothko, Milton Avery, Jacob Lawrence, and Richard Diebenkorn, among others.

  • 1600 21st Street, NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 387-2151
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Woman's National Democratic Club Museum

Woman's National Democratic Club Museum
Rachel Cooper

The 19th-century residence near Dupont Circle is home to a museum that features special exhibits including political campaign memorabilia, photographs, antique furnishings and art exhibits. Tours are available by appointment only.

  • 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202) 232-7363
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Woodrow Wilson House

Woodrow Wilson House
Rachel Cooper

Washington's only presidential museum was the final home of our 28th President. Furnished as it was in Wilson's time, the 1915 Georgian Revival home near Dupont Circle is a living textbook of modern American life in the 1920s.

  • 2340 S St. NW
  • Washington, DC
  • (202)387-4062. 
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