Things to do in Washington, D.C.

  • On and near the National Mall The original Cosmos Club , where the meeting was held that established the Agricultural History Society, is located on Lafayette Square.
  • The National Museum of American History has a major exhibition on food, as well as an permanent exhibition “American Enterprise” that includes some materials on the development of the agriculture industry.
  • The National Museum of African American History has numerous exhibits that explore African American’s experiences of agriculture and rural life.
  • The National Museum of the American Indian has numerous exhibits that explore agriculture and rural life in the historical experiences of Native Americans.
  • The United States Botanic Garden , in operation since 1950, has been in its current building near the U.S. Capitol since 1933.
  • The Library of Congress offer guided tours of its historic Jefferson Building. Our own Shelby Callaway has offered the possibility of a visit to the rare books section where his wife is on staff—if interested, please contact Shelby directly at Shelby.callaway@usda.gov. Further afield Dumbarton Oaks , which has wonderful historic gardens, is located in Northwest DC, a short ride from downtown (about 15 minutes from downtown DC).
  • The U.S. National Arboretum , in Beltsville, Maryland, established in 1927 to research, conserve, and interpret ornamental garden and landscape plants, is operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (about 30 minutes from downtown DC). There are several living history farm museums in the DC area:
    Mount Vernon , George Washingon’s historic estate located in Mount Vernon, Virginia across the Potomac from the District of Columbia, interprets Washington’s farm, distillery, and gristmill, as well as slave life on the plantation https://www.montgomeryparks.org/ (about 40 minute drive from downtown DC).
  • Agricultural History Farm Park, located in Derwood, Maryland, is run by Montgomery County, Maryland (about 50 minute drive from downtown DC).
  • The National Colonial Farm , at Piscataway Park in Accokeek, Maryland, is run by the National Park Service and interprets a Maryland “middle-class” farm on the eve of the American Revolution. The site also conserves heritage plant varieties and animal breeds and runs an organic Ecosystem Farm (about 60 minutes from downtown DC).
  • See also Kim Prothro Williams’ Lost Farms and Estates of Washington DC (Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2018) for more on the lost agricultural history of the area—some of the sites she covers are associated with still existing institutions you can visit for a really off the beaten track aggie view of DC J.