Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., holds numerous museums and memorials with national significance.
“There are several important factors a tour operator should consider when deciding what to include on their group tour itinerary,” said Portia Conerly, director of sales for Arlington Convention and Visitors Service. “Are the group tours educational and relevant, free and accessible and have they been recently renovated and updated? The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the DEA Museum and the Military Women’s Memorial meet those considerations.”
National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial was dedicated in 2008. “The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial was created to remember, honor and observe those family members and friends who are no longer with us because of the events of September 11, 2001, at the Pentagon,” Conerly said. Open 24/7, the 2-acre outdoor memorial’s design features a bench to honor each victim’s memory and life. Trees and flowing water are also part of the poignant memorial.
Groups can arrange a docent-led tour of the memorial. Many docents have a personal connection to the 9/11 attacks and not only shed light on the series of events that led up to them, but also provide a personal perspective on the events of the day.
A Visitor Education Center at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is aiming for a fall 2025 opening.
Arlington is home to the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the free DEA Museum. “The DEA Museum is a hands-on, interactive, educational experience of how drug use and prevention impacts our society throughout history and today,” Conerly said.
Staff at and partners of the DEA Museum have reimagined the museum, which originally opened in 1999. Two years of planning, design and construction has resulted in a colorful, contemporary space. New exhibits cover the history of drug use, explain how drugs can affect the body and portray the work of DEA agents. The museum includes 40 hands-on activities, artifacts and a changing exhibit space.
The artifact collection contains everything from hundred-year-old medicine bottles to a seized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Military Women’s Memorial
The Military Women’s Memorial was established in 1997 and is the only historical repository documenting all military women’s service. The memorial, located at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, features an education center, interactive exhibitions, a world-class collection of military women’s stories, and engaging programs and events for all ages.
Now reopen after renovations, the memorial honors all women who have served courageously, selflessly and with dedication.
“The Military Women’s Memorial is a world-class collection of military women’s stories, and includes The Pledge, the first monument in the nation’s capital to honor all women of the U.S. military,” Conerly said.
For more information
As group tour planners prepare to visit Arlington, the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service encourages them to consult the official website of the Arlington County government for valuable information regarding tour buses.
For any other information about tour planning, people can contact Portia Conerly at the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-228-0873.
Main Image: National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial; Credit: ACVS