It’s Museum Monday! Today I’m letting you in on a well-kept secret. You can visit the Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.! Who knew, right? I’ve lived here nearly 10 years, and I never knew until just recently that this was available. It does take a bit of planning and legwork on your part, so let’s get started!
1. Know Before You Go
Before you request your tour, here are some tips and things to be aware of before you make your plans:
- It’s FREE!
- The Department of Treasury Building is located one block east of the White House at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
- Tours are only offered on Saturdays; this excludes some holiday weekends.
- All tour guides are volunteers who work at the Treasury Department as their day job.
- Tours are offered at 9:00am, 9:45am, 10:30am, and 11:15am.
- They claimed the tour lasts about an hour… for us it was 1 hour and 45 minutes! Be prepared for that!
- No strollers or backpacks are allowed, and there is no storage onsite.
- No photography inside (I can’t tell you how disappointed I was about that!), but you may take photos in the courtyard by the replica of the Liberty Bell.
- Want to see how they make the money? That’s a different tour! You want the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
2. Visit the Department of Treasury Website
Visit the website at the link above for the latest and greatest info. They even have a system in place to make finding and contacting your Congresspeople easy.
3. Contact Your Congressperson
Use the “Contact Senator” and “Contact Representative” buttons pictured above (and linked here) to find out who your Congresspeople are (every American has two Senators and one Representative, so you will have three options!) and contact their office to schedule your tour. They will send you an Excel document to fill out with your name, date of birth, social security number, whether you are a citizen or not, country of citizenship, gender, and city and state of citizenship (or city where you are staying if you are from another country).
4. Wait for a Confirmation E-mail
Two weeks before your tour date, you will receive an e-mail confirmation for your tour. Didn’t receive an e-mail? You didn’t get in–sorry! The e-mail will tell you when and where to report. We gave our Congressperson’s scheduler four dates we would be available, with our #1 preference first. Our first choice was December 2 for the 11:15, but we got December 2 at 9:00. Be flexible! You do not need to print anything to take with you as your ticket, but have the confirmation e-mail ready just in case. I kept mine on my smartphone for quick access.
Here is the attachment we received for more information:
5. Show Up Early
And at the right location! Your confirmation e-mail will tell you to arrive 5-10 minutes early. So we planned to get there at 8:45am for our 9:00am tour, just in case. (We like to run early!) You should meet at the West Entrance at Executive Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue, but there was no sign. We realized that you can check in at the White House checkpoint, so don’t be fooled! You can Metro (not sure how to Metro? Check out DC’s Metro System: A Guide) to McPherson Square on the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines.
6. Have your Photo Identification (ID) Ready
If you are 16 or older and don’t have ID, you don’t get in. Those under 16 do not need an ID, just the company of an adult with ID. Acceptable forms of ID are:
- State Driver’s License
- Government-issued ID card
7. Take a Photo with the Liberty Bell and Enjoy Your Tour!
This is the one place where you can get a photo, so take advantage of it! As for the rest of the tour, take it all in and listen for the history and significance of the building. Enjoy, and feel free to ask questions!
And you won’t leave empty-handed! You will be given a detailed brochure and approximately $25 in shredded cash!
Are you ready to get your own tour scheduled? I recommend it!