By Molly Korroch
People choose brick and mortar stores over the internet for the experience. What could be a better D.C. bookstore shopping experience than finding a book at an historic local attraction? Museum and National Park Service sites often come complete with gift shops filled with books specifically pertaining to the site’s subject. Visiting D.C.? Kill two birds with one stone and visit any one of these beautiful places.
As the site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Ford’s Theatre is the most infamous theatre in America. The theater remained closed for over one hundred years until it reopened in 1968 as a working theater and national historic site. Ford’s Theatre is now both a place to see performances (sans Confederate sympathizers) and a museum and bookshop where you can learn so much more about that fateful Friday night.
Did you know that the National Cathedral is the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s final Sunday sermon? Learn that and more from the books at their on-site shop. Along with a variety of religious books and tokens, you’ll find several volumes documenting the history of both the area and the cathedral itself.
There’s nothing quite like an art museum gift shop. Especially if that museum is a particularly good one. Washington D.C.’s National Gallery is just such a museum. Here you can find prints, books on sculpture, art history, children’s books, impressionism–you name it! If you’re trying to find the perfect coffee table book or a gift for one of your artsier friends, then this bookshop is for you.
If you live in D.C. and haven’t been to Mount Vernon you are truly missing out. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon walk in Springtime. Now, if you’re at all interested in George Washington or American history, this bookstore’s collection will knock you off your feet. “The Shops at Mount Vernon features the world’s most comprehensive George Washington-themed bookstore. Every book in this collection comes with a Mount Vernon bookplate, signed by the author.” From books about gardening and historical farming to first-rate historical non-fiction (Go read Nathaniel Philbrick. Now. Just go.) it’s impossible to leave this shop without feeling a tad more historically enlightened and perhaps a bit more patriotic.
Whether or not you go on a day where you can actually tour the White House, you can still enjoy it’s fantastic history at the bookstore. Here you can find a variety of historic guides, books, and other ephemera associated with the history of the building. Can you name which president was the first to live in the white house? Do you know why it’s white, or who started calling it “The White House”? Learn more about one of our city’s greatest monuments at this National Park bookstore.