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Summer is a great time to refresh your mind, enjoy some downtime, and take part in some hobbies. However, summer learning loss is a very real thing, and it’s important for students to take part in some educational activities to keep their minds fresh and engaged throughout the summer. Some of the best ways to stay busy, have fun, and keep learning is to visit some museums. From science to art to everything in between, museums are not only entertaining, but they’re also incredibly educational. Not to mention they keep your mind sharp as learning new things increases your brain’s capacity and encourages a larger thirst for knowledge. One of the best types of museums for students is history museums. They teach students not only about the events of the past, but also the significance of those events. For today’s students, learning about historical events and people can be incredibly enlightening and eye-opening. Whether you’re looking for some history museums near your hometown or you’re embarking on some trips this summer, here are some of the top history museums around the U.S. to visit this summer.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial
One of the most well-known events in our nation’s history is the day of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There is a lot to do in the area surrounding the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, but the memorial itself deserves a visit for sure. As one of the favorite history museums for students, a trip here is sure to be sobering, emotional, and hugely significant in the lives of any visitor. There are exhibit galleries, a memorial theater, a bookstore, and a handful of other memorial sites that people can visit to learn more about the day that will live in infamy.
Colonial Williamsburg Historic Sites
While not a museum on its own, Colonial Williamsburg is a must-visit location for anyone looking to learn more about the history of our country. The historic area is made up of three art museums and a handful of other educational historical areas, such as a blacksmith shop, a public armory, an apothecary shop, a bindery, a brickyard, the carpenter’s yard, a colonial garden, a courthouse, a foundry, and so much more. There are endless activities and opportunities to learn and experience what life was like in Colonial Williamsburg, which is sure to impact any student.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Located in Washington DC, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum pays homage to the millions of people who lost their lives during the Holocaust. The museum teaches people all about the Holocaust, including the role Americans played in it, and the significance of the horrific events that took place. Better suited for older children and adults, the Holocaust Museum will surely educate students on the importance of tolerance, understanding, and love.
In the heart of San Antonio, TX is the Alamo, the spot of the historical battle that took place in the 18th century. Visitors can self-tour the Alamo Church, the grounds, and more, but for the most educational experience, a guided tour is recommended. There are a handful of guided tours available, including a basic overview of the story of the Alamo, a weapons tour, and a child-friendly tour that helps kids experience what life would have been like during the 1830s in Texas.
National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center
Still currently the location of many Army basic training graduations, the National Infantry Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the United States’ armed forces. There is so much to learn and the museum is full of interesting displays to look at and interact with. This museum boasts the world’s largest display of military artifacts and it also allows visitors to view battles and the armed forces through the eyes of an infantryman. Perfectly suited for individuals of all ages, this museum gives civilians a glimpse into the lives of soldiers and their families, including their struggles, fears, and successes.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Another gem in the heart of Washington DC is the Smithsonian’s history museum. For students, this museum is sure to open their eyes to the rich history of the US and enlighten them on the significant events that our country has gone through. There are endless exhibits and related artifacts that focus on different aspects of our country’s history, including military, cultural, social, and political features. The most popular current exhibits include the original Star Spangled Banner, the Price of Freedom, American Democracy, American Enterprise, and Spark! Lab.
National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Some students today were not even born when 9/11 happened. Though that may shock those who distinctly remember watching or experiencing the tragic events of that day, now is the best time for students to learn about the events and impact of 9/11. Though it has only been open since 2014, it is easily one of the best history museums around the US, and with it being located right in NYC where the 9/11 attacks took place, it is a must-visit museum for students all across the U.S. It educates visitors on the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, as well as the World Trade Center attacks that took place in 1993. There is a memorial section devoted to those who lost their lives in these attacks, as well as an entire exhibit of artists’ responses to the attacks.
National World War II Museum
Right in the French Quarter in New Orleans, the National World War II Museum is one of the favorites of history museums for students. It’s located in a large location that used to be a factory for the boats that were used in the D-Day invasion in Normandy. An exhibit called “Campaigns of Courage” takes you on an educational and inspirational journey, and you’ll get to see vintage planes and other vehicles that were used during World War II. You can view a film and look at incredible artifacts and memorabilia, and you may even get to talk to some World War II veterans.
American Museum of Natural History
In the Upper West Side of Manhattan is the glorious and mind-blowing American Museum of Natural History. It has an incredible 45 exhibition halls and 39 million artifacts, and it has been around since 1869, so the museum itself is incredibly rich in history. The primary focus of this museum is anthropology, zoology, and biology, and there is currently an amazing exhibit on old human civilizations, making it a must-see for students of all ages. The museum has incredible dinosaur skeletons, fossils of all types, human remains (including the oldest Neanderthal skeletons in the world), rocks and minerals, meteorites and other planetary science artifacts, stuffed animals, and a great deal of information about biodiversity, the environment, animals and birds of all kinds, and human origins and cultures.
Henry Ford Museum
Although this museum started as a personal collection of items belonging to Henry Ford, the automotive pioneer and founder of the Ford Motor Company. Ford’s small collection quickly grew into what is today’s Henry Ford Museum, which houses countless everyday items that are central to the American experience and the history of our country. In addition to exhibits on transportation, manufacturing, and Ford’s personal belongings, the museum boasts many presidential belongings, including George Washington’s bed, the chair Lincoln was in when he was assassinated, and the limousine that Kennedy was in when he was assassinated. This museum of innovation is both fascinating and educational, making it one of the best history museums for students in the U.S.