Museums are a fun way to learn more about your favorite topics as well as subjects you don’t know much about. In the Woodbridge area, there are dozens of museums on American history and culture besides the dozens more in and around the country’s capital. So if you’re looking to take your family to a fascinating museum a bit closer to home and away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C., then check out one of these six museums within about 20 minutes of Woodbridge.
National Museum of the Marine Corps
Image via Flickr by Ron Cogswell Licensed CC BY 2.0
Located in nearby Triangle, Virginia, is one of the country’s best museums dedicated to a branch of the military. The National Museum of the Marine Corps features a diverse collection of exhibits and artifacts, including an art gallery and an interactive children’s section.
Every display is meant to educate visitors on the Marine Corps’ impact on world history through its 200 years as a branch as well as honor past, present, and future Marines. Discover how this brave unit got its start in the American Revolution, learn the role of the Marines in different major wars, and watch how recruits become Marines at one of the two training camps.
This military history museum is located at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle. It’s open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of Christmas Day, and it has free admission for everyone.
Mount Vernon is the former plantation home of first U.S. president George Washington, and today, it serves as a massive mirror into Revolutionary and post-Revolution American history. You can tour much of the estate, including the actual house he and his wife Martha lived in before, during, and after his presidency. Each of the mansion’s rooms are exquisitely restored and maintained, and they feature original household items and historical artifacts, like the Key to the Bastille that George Washington received from Marquis de Lafayette.
In addition to the mansion, you can explore the beautiful gardens, visit the burial site of George and Martha Washington, see the farm and work buildings that were operated by slaves, and tour the reconstructed distillery and gristmill that are both fully functioning. Make sure to stop by the Mount Vernon Museum and Education Center, where you can view more Revolution-era artifacts and view a 4-D film about Washington and the fight for American independence.
The estate is located at 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in the namesake town of Mount Vernon. Every visitor must have a grounds pass that allows you to walk the estate property and tour the museum, and these passes cost $28 for people 12 years old and up and $15 for kids ages 6 to 11 years old. Kids 5 and under get in for free. Mansion tours, which are guided by a property docent, cost $2 per person.
Fairfax Station Railroad Museum
Step into Civil War history at the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, located in nearby Fairfax Station. This museum houses displays and artifacts that take you back to the mid-1800s when this rural depot first operated along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. See maps of the original railroad, war-time materials and portraits, and model trains. You can also hear stories of how this depot and the railroad provided critical weapons and soldier transport during the Civil War and led to the establishment of the little town of Fairfax Station.
The Fairfax Station Railroad Museum is located at 11200 Fairfax Station Road. This museum is open most Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. and occasionally on Saturdays and Mondays. You can keep an eye on the Events calendar for specific open dates. Admission costs $5 for people 13 years old and up and $3 for kids 5 to 12 years old. Kids under 5 years old are free.
Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum
The Lyceum in nearby Alexandria is home to the Alexandria Library and the Alexandria History Museum, but the building was previously a Civil War hospital, the town’s old Chamber of Commerce, and a visitors’ center. Now, you can come here to view artifacts like clothing, muskets, and military gear; photographs of the area’s people, buildings, and events at different points in history; and documents, artwork, and historic furniture. Each section of this museum is dedicated to a different era or aspect of Alexandria’s and America’s history.
You can find the Alexandria History Museum on the first floor of the Alexandria Lyceum, located at 201 S. Washington St. in Alexandria. This museum is open Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for kids ages 6 to 17 years old, and $8 for a whole family.
The Freedom Museum is now in the Hibbs & Giddings Building in nearby Manassas, and it still has many of the same impressive displays and new exhibits that honor the people who fought for American freedom both at home and around the world. However, this museum is unique from others that focus on the same topic because it focuses on the stories of local veterans and citizens who sacrificed during wartime. You’ll learn how people all did their part through artifacts like documents, photographs, memorabilia, and presentations from historians and those who lived through this era.
The Freedom Museum is located at 9129 Center St. in Manassas. They’re open every first Friday of each month from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
Drug Enforcement Administration Museum
At the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum, you can learn how this federal agency works to keep America safe from illicit drugs and honor past DEA agents, and you can also see artifacts from real DEA cases, like old agent credentials and items from undercover operations. Plus, there are exhibits that educate on the different kinds of substances the DEA looks for and the harmful effects of these drugs. Many exhibits are interactive, too.
This museum is located at 700 Army Navy Drive in Arlington. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
So there you have it, six awesome museums around the Woodbridge area. Did we miss your family’s favorite museum that’s close to home? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Woodbridge. We’ll be sure to add it to our list!