We will understand where we are going when we learn how we got here.

For the Record Exhibit Banner NewThe Historical Society of Washington, D.C., tells the diverse stories of our nation’s capital to a broad community of learners, near and far. We serve students and teachers. We welcome and educate newcomers and engage old-timers. We celebrate, preserve, and present everyday life in Washington, D.C. Our valuable collections come to life through educational programs, initiatives, and exhibits designed to gather people together to satisfy their curiosity, to learn each other’s stories, and to develop respect for the larger community in which we live.

HSW_20150327_TwoRiversPCS_019Today’s Historical Society collects educational materials that document D.C. history, presents public programs and exhibitions, and publishes research and information across a broad spectrum, from print to social media. It introduces the thrill of discovery to schoolchildren and adults alike. The Historical Society has provided images and research to WETA, the Smithsonian, and Amblin Entertainment as well as local restaurants, independent documentary filmmakers, authors, masons, architects, and construction companies. It also collaborates with its fellow historical, cultural, and civic institutions to strengthen this diverse and dynamic region.

hornickhistorianawards20160526-87-3Community leaders and organizations that understand the role of history in creating a healthy city all support the work of their local history museums and libraries. As in other city museums worldwide, individual donors, foundations, corporations, and governmental organizations from the metropolitan area all support the work of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.


The Historical Society of Washington D.C. is a community-supported educational and research organization that collects, interprets, and shares the history of our nation’s capital. Founded in 1894, it serves a diverse audience through its collections, public programs, exhibitions, and publications.

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Policewoman directs traffic at 7th St. and Massachusetts Ave. NW, ca. 1918. Photo by Zaccheus Spratt. (ZSI 132A)