A unique educational tour of some of the most iconic landmarks in Washington, D.C. is being made available for free by the Smithsonian Museum and The Great Courses.
“The right of spring is that all these students and teachers and other tourists come to Washington and visit the memorials, the museums, the monuments, and so on,” said Professor Richard Kurin, Ph.D. “And this year we realized they wouldn’t be able to.
Kurin is the first person to ever hold the title of “Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar” and he’s now the face of The Great Tours: Washington D.C.
Kurin says people should start the courses at the National Mall.
“When you look at that iconic space, that’s recognizable all over the world, you know it’s important to realize how it came to be,” said Kurin. “It’s not a natural place. It was made. It was carved out of the Potomac River.
There are plenty of distinguished guests that pop into the tours as well.
“So, it’s kind of like a field trip and then you're meeting people like Colin Powell and Jose Andres and Yo-Yo Ma along the way and with Colin Powell talking about what it was like to go to Arlington Cemetery and to go to work in the Pentagon,” said Kurin.
You get a behind the scenes look at government, museums, religious buildings and the national zoo.
There are also some little-known food facts revealed about a popular D.C. dish – blue crabs from Chesapeake Bay.
Professor Kurin says overall, the courses connect us.
“It’s a time when you start thinking about those big things that connect you to your fellow citizens, to your neighbors, to your history and your aspirations for your future,” said Kurin.