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  • 08 Jun 2019

    mark your calendar!


    Saturday, September 28, 2019

    ALL DAY!



    A one-day, two-part walking tour that will be nothing short of a Washington Walks' "greatest hits" experience. Lots of sites, lots of guides, lots of memories!  Final destination: a D.C. spot where the 20th anniversary celebration will continue with drinks and nibbles.  Details to come! 

    founded August 1999

    If You Haven't Been on a Washington Walk, You Haven't Been to Washington



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  • 08 Jun 2019



    Announcing our Summer Public Programs

    The Institute’s summer 2019 calendar of public programs at Anderson House kicks off this month. Highlights include a Vintage Evening celebrating the 1782 French encampment in present-day Washington, D.C., and a documentary film screening about the Lafayette Escadrille.


    Vintage Evening

    A French Encampment in Washington, D.C. 

    Saturday, July 20
    6:30 p.m.
    Reservations required
    $25 general admission; $20 for Society members and Associates
    Join us for an evening to mark the anniversary of the encampment of French troops in our neighborhood in 1782 on their march north after the Siege of Yorktown—the only time a foreign army has ever camped within the boundaries of the present District of Columbia. Enjoy a tasting of French wines, French-inspired foods, and activities inspired by this historic event, which happened here!


    Learn More



    Documentary Screening

    The Lafayette Escadrille
    Wednesday, August 7

    6:30 p.m.
    Free admission
    At the beginning of World War I, young Americans rushed to France as volunteers to defend America’s oldest ally. The Lafayette Escadrille, the only all-American squadron in the French Air Service, is the subject of a new documentary film co-directed by Paul Glenshaw. Following the film screening, Glenshaw will comment on the production, including presenting the deep connections several of the pilots had to the Revolution and to the Society of the Cincinnati.


    Learn More


  • For the first time in almost twenty years, the NSO will perform a free concert in the Great Upper Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, led by Music Director Gianandrea Noseda. The NSO is committed to engaging all communities across Washington, D.C. Sharing live classical music is at the heart of their mission – music is for everyone, regardless of age, background or zip code.

    The NSO Community Concert series aims to create excitement and appreciation for live symphonic music, engage and inspire audiences of the future, and ensure that all Washington, D.C. residents have access to participating in the arts.

    National Symphony Orchestra: Community Concert at the Basilica

    • Location: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    • Address: 400 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, D.C. 20017
    • Date: Friday, May 31, 2019
    • Time: 7 p.m.
    • Performance Duration: 65-70 minutes, with no intermission
    • Cost: Free



    • WAGNER: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
    • SAINT-SAËNS: Slow movement from the Organ Symphony
    • HOLST: “Venus” from The Planets
    • DEBUSSY: Clair de lune, arr. Caplet
    • RESPIGHI: Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No.2


  • 21 May 2019



    Astronomy Festival on the National Mall

    Saturday, June 22, 2019; 6 - 11 pm;

    in front of the Smithsonian Castle (1000 Jefferson Dr. SW)

    Rain Location: Smithsonian Castle


    Celebrate the Summer Solstice with Telescope Views of the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn

    at the Largest Annual Astronomy Outreach Event in The US


    In Washington, DC, on Saturday June 22th from 6 to 11 pm, visitors will be a given a free guided tour of the sky at the Astronomy Festival on the National Mall.  This free public festival is organized by Dr. Donald Lubowich, Coordinator of Astronomy Outreach at Hofstra University.  The Astronomy Festival on the National Mall (AFNM) will feature solar, optical, and radio telescope observations; hands-on activities, demonstrations, hand-outs, posters, banners, and videos; a planetarium show under a 25-foot blow-up dome, and a chance to mingle with astronomers.  


    This year the Astronomy Festival on the National Mall will be presented in association with the Smithsonian Solstice Saturday events (  The National Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Museums will be open until midnight featuring free parties, programs, and performances.  Representatives from some of the nation’s foremost scientific institutions, organizations, and universities will present exciting demonstrations and answer questions about the latest astronomical discoveries or careers in science.


    Dr. Lubowich and local amateur astronomers will set up twenty-five telescopes on the Mall. Starting at 6 pm, visitors will be able to view sunspots with the help of specially filtered telescopes.   After dusk and until 11 p.m. telescopes will provide close-up views of Jupiter and its moons, the Saturn with its beautiful rings, colorful double stars, and star clusters that sparkle like diamonds on black velvet.


    “Bringing astronomy to the National Mall and partnering with astronomical organizations gives us a very special opportunity to encourage children to pursue their interest in science or math and to promote public understanding of science,” said Dr. Lubowich. “Gazing at the rings of Saturn or the Moon’s craters captures the imagination, no matter how old you are.”  AFNM started in 2010 as part of a NASA-funded Music and Astronomy Under the Stars program, which brought an astronomy festival to outdoor concerts throughout the US, and was co-sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.


    Science Organization: American Physical Society, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Carnegie Science/ Carnegie Academy for Science Education. Chandra X-ray Center/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, International Dark Sky Association, NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center, National Air and Space Museum, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, National Science Foundation, Naval Research Laboratory, Science for Society & the Public, the Science Place, Society of Physics Students, and the Space Telescope Science Institute.


    Colleges and Universities:  American University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, Montgomery College, and Rice University/E-planetarium.


    Astronomy clubs and organizations who will bring telescopes: Amateur Observers’ Society of NY, Astronomical Association of Greenbelt, Catawba Valley Astronomy Club, Goddard Astronomy Club, National Capital Astronomers, Amateur Radio Astronomers, and the Washington Area Astronomy Meet-up.


    Metro: Smithsonian.  Parking is available at 600 Maryland Ave., SW; S. of the National Air and Space Museum. Update at

    Hofstra University | Hempstead, New York|11549 |

  • 21 May 2019 by Clara Sachs 2024



    The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has announced that the Nation’s T. rex has returned to the museum where it will be the centerpiece of the new 31,000-square-foot fossil hall opening June 8, 2019. The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton will be featured in the reopened hall alongside more than 700 specimens, including dinosaurs, plants, animals and insects, some never before displayed at the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition will depict a journey through time of more than 3.7 billion years of life on Earth. Visitors will discover their impact on life’s story as it plays out today and their role in shaping its future.

    The new hall will be called The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils—Deep Time, in recognition of a $35 million gift from David H. Koch, the largest single donation in the history of the museum.

    “The return of the Nation’s T. rex is an important milestone in the countdown to the grand opening of the new hall in June 2019,” said Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History. “This hall will be unlike any other—it begins in the past and ends in the future. Using extraordinary fossils, compelling interactive and multimedia experiences, and the latest science, visitors will be inspired by the fascinating story of our evolving planet and the life that has inhabited it and understand the critical role they each play in determining its future.”

    When the fossil hall closed in 2014 for renovations, all specimens on display were removed for conservation and study by Smithsonian scientists. Several spectacular dinosaur fossils from the hall were disassembled and taken to Research Casting International in Ontario, Canada, where they were repositioned into dramatic, new and more scientifically accurate poses. Those fossils, including the T. rex, which is on loan to the Smithsonian for 50 years from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are being transported back to the museum for permanent installation in the new hall in a specially branded FedEx Custom Critical truck. The delivery is part of the company’s FedEx Cares “Delivering for Good” initiative.

    What Is Deep Time?

    Human history is only a tiny fraction of Earth’s history. “Deep time” is thinking about Earth’s past in terms of millions and billions of years to understand the events that shaped the planet and the species that live on it. Exploring Earth’s deep past will help people understand the world today and plan a sustainable future.

    Main Messages of the Hall

    Fossils reveal the mysteries of life’s 3.7 billion-year history. The Earth’s distant past is connected to the present and shapes the future. Life and the Earth have always changed and affected one another. Today, humans are profound agents of change. Appreciating the planet’s deep history helps people interpret the world today and predict how the human species and all life might fare in the future. Major themes woven in stories throughout the hall include:

    • All life is connected—past, present and future—to all other life and to the Earth itself.
    • Evolution: Life is continually changing through time.
    • Ecosystems Change: Ecosystems changed through time and continue to do so.
    • Earth Processes: Geological processes and global cycles cause ecosystem and evolutionary changes.
    • Extinction: Mass extinctions have both periodically devastated and created new opportunities for life on Earth. Background extinctions occur one or a few at a time, scattered across the tree of life. Extinction of some species opens up opportunities for others to evolve.
    • Human Connections: Humans, today’s world and the plants and animals people depend upon have intimate connections to deep time.
    • Age of Humans and Global Change: Now, more than ever before, people are influencing life on Earth on the scale of geologic forces from the past. Humans are not only shaping the future but also the fate of life on Earth.

    Background on the Renovation

    Creating the new fossil hall involved the largest building renovation in the museum’s history. Interior walls that had been put into place during the past century were removed, structural columns were relocated, all electrical and mechanical systems were updated and windows and skylights were replaced to allow natural light to permeate the hall. In addition, spaces on the ground floor below, the substation in the basement and up to the building attics required infrastructure renovations and upgrades to make way for the dinosaurs. The project cost $125 million.

    About the National Museum of Natural History

    The National Museum of Natural History is connecting people everywhere with Earth’s unfolding story. It is one of the most visited natural history museums in the world. Opened in 1910, the museum is dedicated to maintaining and preserving the world’s most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit the museum on its website and on Facebook and Twitter.

  • 08 May 2019

















    Join City Winery for a very unique concert featuring the soulful music of winemaker Fred Scherrer and Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, and intimate connections they make between wine and music.


    What should you expect?

    • 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Wine tasting lead by industry experts
    • 8:30 pm - Intimate and engaging acoustic performance by two legends of the wine industry;
    • Full concert menu will be available a la carte;


    Wine tasting will include wines from the following wineries:

    • Arrowood
    • Cambria
    • Carmel Road
    • Matanzas Creek
    • Scherrer Wines

    (Wine tasting is included in the price of the ticket. Must be 21 to attend);


    Winemaker Fred Scherrer, the child of a farming family, first gained notoriety making Zinfandel from his grandfather‘s 1904 vineyard in Alexander Valley. His winemaking operation has now grown to include vineyards throughout Sonoma planted in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. He is a humble farmer who believes that it is what is in the bottle that matters. His goal is to produce wines which exhibit the distinct character of the place where they are grown. His wines pair incredibly well with food and have an amazing ability to age, making them smart additions for any home cellar.

    Michael Jordan has more than 40 years of experience in the restaurant and wine industry. He grew up working in the kitchens and dining rooms of his father’s two Italian restaurants, and served as executive chef, general manager and sommelier at many fine dining establishments.
    Jordan is one of just 15 people in the world awarded both Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator Diplomas, and has been recognized with numerous awards, including Sommelier of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2008. Jordan also hosts a weekly radio show What’s Cookin’ with Wine on many AM radio markets across the country.
    He joined Jackson Family Wines in September 2013. As the Director of Global Key Accounts, he travels the globe to work with key decision makers and hospitality industry leaders specializing in education and training sommeliers and service teams.


    Learn more about the City Winery Tour here!

  • Together with Notre‐Dame de Paris: A Benefit Concert at the Basilica

    Featuring Notre‐Dame Organist Johann Vexo and the Choir of the Basilica Friday, April 26 at 7pm ‐ Great Upper Church of the Basilica


    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will host a special concert to benefit the Cathedral of Notre Dame on Friday evening, April 26, at 7 p.m. 


    The concert will feature the Choir of the Basilica and Johann Vexo, the Notre Dame organist who was playing at the time the devastating fire broke out at the cathedral the evening of April 15.


    Titled Together with Notre Dame de Paris, the concert is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering to benefit the rebuilding and restoration of this historic church that dates back more than 850 years.  The concert will celebrate the spiritual and cultural significance of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in the world, as well as the hope for its future.


    Organized by the Basilica and the Embassy of France in the United States, in partnership with the Friends of Notre‐Dame and the French‐American Cultural Foundation, the concert will be broadcast live through the generous support of the Knights of Columbus on the Eternal Word Television Network.


    In solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral, the Basilica began a special online collection the evening of the fire to support its restoration. To donate or learn more about this special collection, please visit


    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic church in North America and is among the ten largest churches in the world. Designated a national sanctuary of prayer and pilgrimage, the Basilica is the patronal church of the United States and the nation’s preeminent Marian shrine.  Often referred to as America’s Catholic Church, the Basilica will celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone in 2020.  To learn more please visit

  • 23 Mar 2019


    Luther Vandross Fans to Remember the ‘Velvet Voice’ with 
    The American Pops Orchestra Concert at THEARC

    WASHINGTON — In his life, he won eight GRAMMY awards, sold over 35 million records worldwide, and filled arenas around the world. On Sunday, April 7, The American Pops Orchestra will bring the music and style of the legendary Luther Vandross back to the nation’s capital. 
    The American Pops Orchestra, conducted by Luke Frazier, will present “Here and Now: The Music of Luther Vandross,” beginning at 3 p.m. at THEARC DC at 1901 Mississippi Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. Frazier has worked with artists who were close to Vandross such as Patti Labelle and Vanessa Williams. 
    The performance will include songs Vandross wrote such as “So Amazing,” as well as other widely known works that some may not realize have a Vandross connection, such as with David Bowie’s “Young Americans.” 
    Singers will include Helen Hayes award-winner Nova Y. Payton, “The Voice” semi-finalist Rayshun LaMarr, Birdland Jazz Club’s Natalie Douglas, and many more. WAMU’s Tamika Smith will serve as host. 
    APO’s mission is to present innovative programming, featuring groundbreaking concepts to develop and inspire a new audience to appreciate and enjoy live music. DC Metro Theatre Arts has called APO “an innovative group of artists [that] are reinvigorating the tunes you know and love with a contemporary flair that never fails to please.”

    Following this performance, the final show of the season will be “I Am What I Am: The Music of Jerry Herman,” on May 18.

    Tickets and further details about all the performances are at

    THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA, founded by LUKE FRAZIER, presents innovative orchestral programming, featuring groundbreaking concepts to develop and inspire a new audience for the 21st century. This professional orchestra boasts outstanding musicians from New York and Washington, D.C. The American Pops features top performers from Broadway, film and television in critically acclaimed world premier performances. 
    In addition to self-presented programming, other high-profile performances include the Hispanic Heritage Awards, which is nationally broadcast on PBS; theatreWashington’s Helen Hayes Awards; The Giving Pledge; the Beacon Prize, given by Human Rights First; and the DC Standing Ovation Awards, celebrating excellence in DC Public Schools.

  • 23 Mar 2019

    Carpe DC Food Tours is again offering self-guided food crawls in collaboration with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Buy a ticket, check in the day of the tour (location revealed upon purchase), receive a passport listing included restaurants, pick

    Penn Quarter: March 30th 11am-5pm 

    This year, they are again offering Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl in DC, featuring restaurants in Penn Quarter, on MARCH 30th.

    Old Town Alexandria: April 7th 11am-5pm

    NEW this year is the Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl in Old Town Alexandria on April 7th.

    6 Tastings: $80

    8 Tastings: $96

    More information about both tours and tickets can be purchased here:


  • 21 Mar 2019


    April is Architecture Month 


    Purchase tickets now for dozens of tours, lectures, and cultural events throughout the month of April, all across Washington.


    Thinking of attending multiple events?

    Join DAC and benefit from discounted event fees for Architecture Month and throughout the entire year.

    All for less than the cost of attending 3 events at the non-member rate!


    2019 Architecture Month events:

    4/2 2019 AIA|DC Chapter Design Awards Roundtable
    4/3 Tour: International Spy Museum
    4/3 Lecture: The Evolution of the American City through Multifamily Design w/ Meral Iskir, FAIA
    4/4 An Evening of Beer Tasting & Alpine Music at the German-American Heritage Museum
    4/4 Tour: St. Augustine's Episcopal Church
    4/5 Tour: Chinese Embassy Residence (RSVP by 3/22, 12:00pm)
    4/5 Construction Tour: La Cosecha
    4/7 Walking Tour: Embassy Row
    4/8 Tour: The Whittemore House
    4/8 Lecture: Architecture over Architecture w/ Paola Lugli, Int'l Assoc. AIA
    4/9 Tour: N Street Village
    4/10 Tour: Secret Cities at the National Building Museum
    4/10 Lecture: Bespoke Home w/ Paul Masi, partner of Bates Masi+ Architects
    4/10 Tour: Murch Elementary School
    4/11 Tour: National Law Enforcement Museum
    4/12 Tour: Washington National Cathedral
    4/12 Concert & Wine Reception at the French Embassy
    4/13 Tour: Pier 4 at The Wharf
    4/14 Walking Tour: Embassy Row 
    4/15 Construction Tour: The Highline at Union Market
    4/15 Lecture: Designing Beyond Borders by Gensler
    4/16 #iseeDC2019 Exhibition Opening
    4/16 Tour: Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
    4/17 Tour: Clifton Street Apartments
    4/18 Tour: Cleveland Park Library
    4/19 Tour: Embassy of Italy (RSVP by 4/12, 12:00pm)
    4/20 Tour: Washington Fish Market
    4/21 Walking Tour: Embassy Row
    4/21 Indian Cooking Class, Lunch, & Dessert at Heritage India
    4/22 Tour: Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School
    4/23 Tour: The Kreeger Museum
    4/24 Tour: Legacy West End
    4/25 Tour: Washington Alley Project
    4/25 Tour: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
    4/26 - 4/28 Georgetown French Market
    4/26 Tour: DC International School and LAMB PCS
    4/27 Tour: The Whittemore House
    4/28 Walking Tour: Embassy Row
    4/29 Lecture: Perugia Blends Past and Future w/ Paola Amodeo of Paola One Design
    4/30 Architecture Month Closing Event at John A. Wilson Building

    *LUs available for most sessions.

    Learn more and register for events at

    Last Call for Volunteers
    Receive free admission! Contact Scott Clowney for more information.





  • 26 Feb 2019


    It’s slowly, slowly getting warmer out and the days getting longer, so you know what that means: spring cleaning and summer internships!


    We had such success with our winter clothing drive (thanks to great partners like you!), we’re doing it again to make sure the young people we serve have what they need to make their Career Ready Internships a success!




    We are requesting new or gently used and cleaned professional dress items for all shapes, sizes, and genders. These include:

    • Dresses, skirts
    • Blouses, dress shirts, tops, sweaters
    • Suits, jackets, and blazers
    • Dress pants
    • Ties and scarves

    Remember: If you wouldn’t want your intern showing up to your office in it, please donate it elsewhere! Please no jewelry.


    These items will be distributed to Academy of Hospitality and Tourism students in need at our Professional Dress Day. Any remaining clothing will be donated to our friends at Dress for Success.


    Thank you so much for all the support you have shown AEF,


    Lisa Waldschmitt

    American Experience Foundation  |  Manager

  • 23 Feb 2019

    Dear Concierge Family,

    This week I was the proud recipient of an entrepreneurial citation from the State of Maryland by The Honorable Governor Larry Hogan for my professional shoe polishing bar services at Gaylord National Harbor and The State House in Annapolis.


    Dino Wright

    Celebrity Bootblack

    Exec-U-Shine Hospitality Services, llc

  • 23 Feb 2019

    Show your pride. Share your pride.


    TICKETS   |    VISIT   |    EDUCATION    |    NEWS   |    JOIN   |    SHOP

    Family Pride Weekend


    Family Pride Weekend at the Newseum Celebrates "Rise Up" Exhibit Opening

    SPECIAL OFFER: MARCH 9-10, 2019
    The Newseum and mix107.3 are coming together to host Family Pride Weekend in celebration of the opening of the Newseum's newest exhibit, "Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement." 

    The weekend of March 9-10, visitors can take advantage of a special offer that includes two free kids tickets (18 and younger) with the purchase of one general admission adult ticket. The deal is only available March 9-10, and must be purchased at the Newseum admission desk. LEARN MORE > 

    Saturday, March 9 will feature fun activities with mix107.3's street team and a program hosted by The Jack Diamond Morning Show's Jimmy Alexander at 2:30 p.m. in the Knight TV Studio.

    "Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement" is presented by



    Generous support provided by

    The Reef Team

    Additional support provided by the Freedom Forum, Capital Pride Alliance, Washington Blade and the Stonewall Circle.

    Facebook  Twitter  InstagramFlickr  Youtube  

    555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.  |  Washington, D.C. 20001  |  © 2019 Newseum

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  • 31 Jan 2019

    Museum Docent Recruitment
    It's an exciting time to join our team!

    Do you have a passion for American history, historic sites, or the decorative arts? Would you like to share your passion with others? The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati has an immediate need for volunteer museum docents. Docents create a memorable and enlightening experience for visitors of all ages by leading guided tours of the Institute’s headquarters, Anderson House. The mansion, a National Historic Landmark, was completed in 1905 in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Today, tours of Anderson House reveal the significance of the American Revolution, the history of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the lives and collections of the home's first owners, Larz and Isabel Anderson.
    Docents serve at least two weekday shifts or one weekend shift per month. Available shifts are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., as well as Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. Training is provided, as well as continuing education and fellowship gatherings.


    • Welcome and orient visitors to Anderson House;
    • Provide guided tours of the first and second floors;
    • Assist with visitor services.

    • 18+ years old;
    • Enjoy working with people;
    • Excellent oral communication and interpersonal skills;
    • Interest in the American Revolution, the history of Washington, D.C., and/or historic sites.

    Click here to download an application. For more information, please contact Kelsey Atwood, tour and public program manager, at or 202.495.7127. Learn more about the Institute and its museum on our website
    The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati promotes knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence, fulfilling the aim of the Continental Army officers who founded the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783 to perpetuate the memory of that vast event. The Institute supports advanced study, presents exhibitions and other public programs, advocates preservation and provides resources to teachers and students to enrich understanding of our War for Independence and the principles of the men and women who secured the liberty of the American people.
    Copyright © 2019 The Society of the Cincinnati, All rights reserved.

  • 16 Jan 2019 by Ernest Brown

    Earnest Medicine is a docu-series hosted by WACA Affiliate Member, Dr. Ernest Brown.

    Fed up with the current U.S. healthcare system, Dr. Brown left life as a conventional family doctor to work as a house call doctor.

    Learn more about Dr. Brown’s journey through his 2017 appearance on The Today Show.

    This experience working in homes rather than in clinics steered his focus from being a run-of-the-mill hospital employee, to fulfilling his purpose as a true caregiver by staying connected to the community that made him.

    In 2015, Doctors To You was born with the mission to rebuilding the doctor-patient relationship, giving patients the care they deserve. Today, it’s a burgeoning movement in the DC area, providing both residents and visitors seamless access to quality care without having to go out and find it—the doctor comes to you!

    Visit to learn more.

    Join Dr. Brown as he explores the world of medicine and healthcare through house calls without leaving Washington, DC.


  • 10 Jan 2019 by Jim Carr

    Unbeknownst to me, I was selected by a committee of my peers to receive the prestigious Jill Blakeman Award, given to a “member whose work best exemplifies the spirit of the Guild (of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C.) and who has made an original and significant contribution to the operations of the Guild, or who has advised the Guide profession in another way.”
    The award was presented to me by Guild President, Jackie Frend, at this week’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

    No Wonder Jim Carr Earns the Blakeman Award!

    By Pete McCall 

    Nearly every time I see Jim Carr, he’s communicating--via smartphone or face to face.  He seems always to be busy whether researching facts for his next extraordinary tour or lining up another exceptional educational opportunity for fellow guides.     


    It was no surprise to me that James R. Carr was selected to receive the Guild’s Guide of the Year Award for 2018. Many members agree his selection was long-overdue. However, Jim was completely surprised. “No one said anything to me,” he recalled. “I certainly didn’t lobby for the award.”


    Jim predicts he’ll “probably cry” when accepting the Guild’s Jill Blakeman Award at the Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony on Jan. 8.  Dating to 1991, the annual award honors “a Full Member whose work best exemplifies the spirit of the Guild and who has made an original and significant contribution to the operations of the Guild, or who has advised the Guide profession in another significant way.”    


    Since joining the Guild in 2001, our honoree has served on the Board of Directors, received a Guild Service Award and achieved status as a Guild Certified Master Guide (CMG). As CGM program cochair, “Jim works constantly to find and share information valuable to guides and to research and offer programs to advance our knowledge and skills,” said his nominator, former Guild President Tammy Belden. “He works tirelessly to mentor and assist new guides… As a guide, Jim is without parallel. His knowledge and expertise in dealing with groups has been chronicled many times by his clients.” 


    Here’s what former Guild President Joe Steinbock stated: “One of the reasons I like being a member of the Guild is our marvelous community of intelligent, talented, articulate and loyal colleagues. I am amazed at those outstanding guides who are committed to the Guild for the long haul, contributing their time and talents year after year. As a result, we have amazing offerings such as the Guild CMG program, led by Jim Carr and Shannon Mikush. Jim’s wide-ranging and insightful creativity is one reason the CMG tours and experiences are so fascinating. His work with Arlington National Cemetery has proven valuable to the Guild and the entire tour industry.


    “Jim’s military, academic and creative background have provided him with a wide variety of skills and interests that he has brought to bear as both a guide and Guild leader. His international experience and his Puerto Rican heritage enrich his life and his work. He is a terrific writer, a strategic thinker and a great colleague when on tour. And he can be funny,” Joe added.      


    Jim’s experience as a government official and military officer certainly prepared him to emerge as an inspirational, hard-working and well-disciplined Guild leader. He previously worked for eight federal agencies, plus the State of Maryland and the United Nations, and taught at both the secondary and college levels. As a lifelong learner himself, Jim aims to share his experience and knowledge—plus his enthusiasm and energy—to inspire everyone to do their best.             


    “While a federal executive, I was honored to serve eight years as an interagency advisor to the Presidential Management Fellows,” said Jim. He provided monthly training and inspirational speakers and led the Fellows on educational trips around the U.S. and Canada. Jim called this experience “a great apprenticeship for me to later serve as cochair of the CMG program with Shannon.”     


    Jim added, “I worked for two wonderful organizations before becoming a guide: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.  As dean of the EPA Institute, I had nationwide responsibility for the training and education of 18,000 employees.” As a civil affairs officer, Jim helped put broken governments together and assist refugees from war-torn Vietnam, Cambodia, Palestine, Croatia and Serbia. 


    Jim also played a role in rescuing monumental works of art from areas ravaged by war. (Remember the movie “Monuments Men.”) As an expert on military history and monuments, Jim finds it appropriate to use his as Internet address: “”   


    A colonel in the Army Reserve, Jim was dispatched to Panama to meet with Noriega’s military advisor in 1989-90. He served in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and subsequently was called back to duty in Kuwait and Iraq. For his outstanding service, he received a Bronze Star with two Legions of Merit.   


    Add up his 35 years as a federal executive and 31 years in the military and you get 66 years of public service. Not bad for such a youthful-looking “Renaissance Man!” 


    A Ph. D candidate, Jim holds graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati, American University and the University of Southern California. He has travelled quite a distance since driving a New York taxi cab as a young man. Jim attributes his love of learning to his multilingual, architect father, whom he called “a real Renaissance Man.”  


    Jim was inspired to become a tour guide nearly 18 years ago—before he retired from EPA. He was having lunch at Pentagon City with a female tour guide who seemed amazed at his breadth of knowledge about Washington’s history and monuments. She suggested that Jim share his knowledge as a DC licensed tour guide. 


    So, in 2001, he enrolled in Maricar Donato’s training course, which he liked enough to pursue guiding as another career—at first, on a part-time basis. It was a challenging time to guide in the wake of 9/11. “Security got a lot tighter,” he remembered, but “it’s even worse now.”        


    Jim said the Guild has helped fill a “big void” in his life after retirement. The Guild provided the camaraderie that he missed from  government service. Jim’s passion for guiding stems from his love of America and Washington’s history and architecture. He is especially keen to spotlight Arlington National Cemetery and the three Roosevelts: Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor. He is currently preparing a book on the historic cemetery and, as the Guild’s liaison to ANC, keeps us updated on new developments there.  


    Jim’s reputation as a consummate guide has attracted many high-profile and wealthy clients, but he still enjoys working with youths, especially inner-city kids and minorities. And Jim is always available to mentor new guides.  


    “At a personal level,” Joe observed, “Jim’s empathy is perhaps the quality I value most. It was perhaps not so surprising to look up from my misery last April to find Jim there with me at my mother’s funeral.  So both professionally and personallyt, I am delighted that Jim has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Jill Blakeman Award. Well deserved!”             


    No wonder the Guild has finally recognized its own “Living Monument.” 

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