DC Photo Tour Series – the Federal Government
Whether or not you agree with our current administration, as an American you need to take a tour of the buildings that represent our federal government. Your tour should start with the National Archives and then follow through to the buildings that represent the three branches of our federal government: legislative, judicial and executive.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES www.archives.gov
Metro Stop: Archives/Naval Memorial
Your first stop should be to view the documents that formed this country. The Declaration of Independence started the whole movement that resulted in our being freed from British Rule. Then came the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights, – this is the document that formed this country, and that every elected official swears to uphold – . All three can be seen in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives. As all are old, they are preserved in a dark room under thick glass. You are not allowed to take photographs. However, you can purchase replicas in the Archives store.
Hours: Spring/Summer (March 15-Labor Day) 10am-7pm
Fall/Winter (day after Labor Day-March 14, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas 10am-5:30pm
U.S. CAPITOLwww.aoc.gov – The next stop should be the legislative branch
Metro Stop: Capitol Metro South
Leaving the archives you can walk to the Capitol or hop on the Green Line (toward Branch Avenue) one stop to L’Enfant Plaza and then hop on the Blue Line (toward Largo Town Center) to the Capitol South stop.
You will want to take photographs of both sides of the Capitol building. You can book tours (8:50am-3:20 pm) through the Advance Reservation System or by contacting your Senator or Representative. Gallery passes are also available through the Senators or Representative. No cameras are allowed in the galleries. The main entrance is East Front at First Street and East Capitol Street N.E. For more information about touring the Capitol including restrictions, visit: www.visitthecapitol.gov. The restaurant is on the lower level and it is open between 8:30am-4pm Monday through Saturday. There is a security checkpoint. Check the website for prohibited items.
Note: Photograph that side that faces the National Mall first so that after done photographing the Capitol, you can head to your next destination.
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 8:30am-4:30pm (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day and Inauguration Day)
U.S. SUPREME COURT www.supremecourt.gov – The judicial branch of the federal goverment.
Metro Stop: Capitol South
The highest judicial body in the United States. They consist of The Chief Justice and eight associate judges. No photography or videography is allowed inside the courtroom. Eras of the Supreme Court history are named after the chief justice of that time. The Taney Court (1836-1864) is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, the case which may have helped precipitate the Civil War. The Warren Court (1953–1969) made many rulings, sometimes celebrated, sometimes controversial, expanding the application of the Constitution to civil liberties: it held segregation in public schools unconstitutional, the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Decision. The BurberCourt (1969–1986) ruled the Constitution protected a woman’s right to privacy and control over her own body, thus striking down outright abortion ban, controversial Roe vs. Wade Decision. There is a security checkpoint. Check the website for prohibited items.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4:30 pm except Federal Holidays
THE WHITE HOUSE www.whitehouse.gov – The executive branch
Metro Stop: McPherson Square
Walk down to Union Station and hop on the Red Line (toward Shady Grove). You will either need to get off at Metro Center and walk several blocks west to the White House or change trains at Metro Center and hop on the Blue Line (toward Springfield) for one stop and get off at McPherson Square. McPherson Square Metro stop is on the north side of the White House. Now if you get off at Metro Center, you will have further to walk but you can stop at the White House Visitor’s Center at southeast corner of 15th and E Street, open 7 days a week from 7:30am to 4pm.
Public tours of the White House are available. Requests must be submitted through your Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays). Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance but no less than 30 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible since a limited number of tours are available. For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041. Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation. Admission is free. There is a security checkpoint. Check the website for prohibited items. Definitely get photos of both the north and south side of the White House.