The National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington D.C.

A new museum just opened this year in Washington D.C. that is of interest to student travel groups — the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. This museum traces the history of crime in the United States and our legal system’s methods of punishing criminal behavior.

The exhibits at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment are multimedia, three dimensional, and some are even interactive. Student travel groups will love the interactive exhibits that trace the history of notorious criminals and the consequences for crime throughout the centuries.

Interactive Crime Exhibits for Student Travel: Fun and Education
Students can experience the punishments for crime at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Some examples of great exhibits include: visiting a booking station, getting fingerprinted, visiting the jail cell and taking a lie detector test. Students can even climb onto a Harley Davidson motorcycle designed for a police officer and rev the engine. The opportunity to experience the history of crime in this hands-on way excites student groups and engages them more deeply in the learning experience.

The Facts About the History of Crime: Washington D.C.
The National Museum of Crime and Punishment does a fine job of conveying useful, factual, historical information about the history of legal investigations into the perpetrators of crime. The museum also incorporates several modes of communication into exhibits: print, television and film. Public fascination for crime and punishment is also well represented.

CSI Experience and America’s Most Wanted Exhibits
Many student travelers have come to understand criminal behavior and investigations through popular television programs such as CSI Experience or America’s Most Wanted. The National Museum of Crime and Punishment incorporates elements of both popular television shows into their exhibits.

For example, John Walsh, the driving force behind America’s Most Wanted, is featured at the Museum. And, the fully operational filming studio of America’s Most Wanted is actually housed on the second floor. The show has been a huge influence in capturing criminals at large, and is actually teamed with the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The CSI Experience exhibit is not just for fans of the television program. It really is a wonderful way to learn about forensics and the methodology behind this science. Some relatively new technologies such as DNA testing are helping to solve murders that happen now or have been cold cases for years. Reconstruction of the crime scene, autopsies, artifacts, and interviews all become a ‘body of evidence’ when trying to convict criminals. The CSI Experience helps students to understand that details, hard work, expertise, and ability to critically analyze a crime scene are all skills that a true crime scene investigator must cultivate in order to out think perpetrators of violent crimes.

Student travelers can stop inside the Cop Shop towards the end of their visit to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment for authentic crime fighting memorabilia.

To add a trip to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment to a student travel itinerary to Washington D.C. email or call 800-247-7969.

Arlington National Cemetery: Just Outside of Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

Student travel groups headed to the Washington D.C. area will want to schedule some time on their itinerary for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is a place of remembrance and loss. It is also a monument to the sacrifices made to keep U.S. democracy sound and our nation properly defended. A number of students have viewed Arlington National Cemetery on television, in the movies, and on news programs but there is nothing as awe inspiring as a visit to the actual site itself.

Famous Americans and Heroes Interred at Arlington

Arlington National Cemetery has been a National Cemetery since 1864. Many famous Americans are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, including John F. Kennedy. War heroes who fought for freedom and the birth of a new nation are interred at Arlington, from the Revolutionary War to the present day war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Brief History of Arlington House
A student trip to Arlington House is needed to understand the full scope and impact the Civil War had upon Arlington and elsewhere in the nation. The history of Arlington National Cemetery is richly woven into the memorable events in world and domestic politics, and social life. The original owner of Arlington House, was George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of George Washington. Washington’s wife, Martha, was widowed when they met and had children by a previous marriage. Custis inherited the property at the age of 2, and when he became an adult he commissioned George Hadfield, the English architect who designed the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., to design a 19th Century Greek revival mansion. Arlington House stands on the hill today – overlooking over 250,0000 gravesites.

After Custis died, his only daughter, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married Robert E. Lee. At the conclusion of the Civil War, Union troops took up positions around Arlington House, and the property was confiscated for tax purposes as well as obvious political reasons. Lee always lamented the loss of Arlington House and felt personally responsible for it. After Lee’s death, George Washington Custis Lee reclaimed ownership of Arlington House because he said it was illegally confiscated. Eventually it was sold to the government for $150,000 and was turned into public property, where it first served as a freedman’s village and military base and later as a national cemetery.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded everyday by specially trained military personnel who are dressed in their best regalia and remain solemn, focused, and silent. An average of 27 funeral processions occur each day at the cemetery. Much of the ceremonial activities, especially by heads of state, are centered around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Students may be able to witness a wreath laying ceremony in several ways. For example, if they visit Arlington around the time of a holiday such as Memorial Day or when a head of state is visiting they may witness a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On any given day there are many other wreath laying ceremonies throughout Arlington National Cemetery they may see. The best way to ensure student travel groups participate in a wreath laying ceremony is to schedule one on the itinerary.

A student travel professional from the Educational Travel Consultants staff will be happy to incorporate a wreath laying ceremony into a student trip to Arlington National Cemetery. An Educational Travel professional will create a formal request letter that goes to the appropriate Arlington personnel for a specific timed wreath laying ceremony for your school. An Educational Travel Consultant will order the wreath with the school colors and have it delivered specifically to the Tomb site at Arlington.

Social Studies Students
Many eras of American history and government are touched upon in Arlington National Cemetery. Educators can easily complement a curriculum where certain periods in American history are being studied by focusing in on specific eras during Arlington National Cemetery’s history. Clearly the Civil War era is a period that can be easily studied in conjunction with a student trip to Arlington. Many heroes from Revolutionary Times are also interred at Arlington, as well as political figures, authors, and even freed slaves. Educators can handpick a variety of topics appropriate to their curriculum by visiting the history page of Arlington National Cemetery’s website.

Annapolis Maryland: A Great Add On For Student Travel to Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

Annapolis, Maryland is an historic naval stronghold and seaport with colonial influences and a distinct character. Student trips to Washington D.C. are adding a much broader educational experience with a day trip to Annapolis, Maryland. The U.S. Naval Academy is one student destination, but not the only point of interest. Annapolis is also a city with a rich selection of historic buildings and colonial architecture. Some leading figures in Early American history were entertained in Annapolis, including many of the nation’s founding fathers.

Annapolis: A Short Bus Drive From Washington D.C.
The city of Annapolis is a short bus ride from Washington D.C. During the colonial era Annapolis was just as important as Washington D.C. and served as a focus for politics and commerce. Annapolis was named for Princess Anne. Not long after, she became Queen and chartered Annapolis as a city in 1708.

With the lure of a lucrative shipping industry, wealthy merchants and planters built their lavish estate homes in Annapolis. Many of these homes are representative of the European architecture of the colonial period. This history makes the seaport town stand out, mainly due to the grandness and splendor of homes and the lifestyles lived there.

Student Travel to the Annapolis Historic Downtown District
Student travel groups do not want to miss out on historical homes and public buildings in Annapolis that date as far back as the American Revolutionary period. The best way to take in all of the points of interest is to take a short walking tour in the historic part of Annapolis. Some of the highlights students will see include the City Dock, State House, St. John’s College, and William Paca House and Garden. The connection between Annapolis and later prominent statesmen in Washington D.C. will be evident after this walking tour. Student travel groups can enjoy some souvenir shopping or grab a light snack or cold drink while touring downtown Annapolis.

Harbor Boat Tour: Annapolis
The Annapolis Harbor boat tour is one of the best opportunities for students to see the U.S. Naval Academy from the vantage point of the Chesapeake Bay. The boat cruises around the Annapolis Harbor for less than an hour. The professional tour guide narrates the history of Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy, and some of the strategic battles that were fought here or nearby. Student travel groups will learn about history, commerce, social life, journeys at sea, and more, when they take Annapolis Harbor Tour. The Annapolis Harbor Tour is a great complement to the walking tour of downtown Annapolis.

Maryland State House
This historic building is the oldest capitol building in continuous use in the U.S. It served as the Capitol from 1783-1784, when the Continental Congress met there. The building was rebuilt three separate times. It was burned in 1704; the government outgrew the new building by 1769; and, an Annapolis architect helped create the plans for and execute the third Maryland State House building. The new building had a dome, an extraordinary engineering feat. Student travelers will marvel at the lightning rod atop the Maryland State House, built to specifications by Ben Franklin. Franklin had a theory that lightning rods attached to high buildings prevented lightning strikes on the structure. The Maryland State House was an integral part of Early American history and political life. Some of the earliest forms of representative government were practiced at the Maryland State House; therefore it is a necessary stop on any student trip.

Student travel groups touring the Washington D.C. area will want to consider adding a full day or half day trip to Annapolis to their itinerary. For more information regarding student travel trips to Washington D.C., Annapolis, or other areas, visit

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