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 D.C. museums take just an hour or two to explore and are rarely crowded.
(Listed in Alphabetical Order)
This 1905 Beaux-Arts mansion was the home of American diplomat Larz Anderson and his wife. It 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.
Location—2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
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.
Location—1307 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
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 D.C. Public Schools. The museum houses school-related artifacts that date back to 1804.
Location—1201 17th Street, NW
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.
Location—1812 19th Street, NW
The museum was founded in 2008 by Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner Harry Wu. He wanted 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. Also detailed are the profiles of numerous political prisoners and Laogai camp victims. It reveals top-secret internal Communist Party documents about the prison system's structure, regulation, and operation.
Location—First and Second Floor, 1901 18th Street, NW
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.
Location—2020 O Street, NW
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.
Location—1145 17th Street (at M Street), NW
The museum highlights the contributions made by Jewish Americans who have served in the armed forces and have worked to combat anti-Semitism.
Location—1811 R Street, NW
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.
Location—1600 21st Street, NW
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.
Location—1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington's only presidential museum was the final home of our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson. 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.
Location—2340 S Street, NW