Scavenger Hunts at The National Museum of
American History

  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • kids
  • indoor

The National Treasures Scavenger Hunt

If America had a giant attic…

…the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History would be it. On teams, you’ll follow clues through the galleries of this eclectic treasure trove, in search of answers to tricky, humorous questions about artifacts and memorabilia representing all eras and aspects of American life.

Along the way, you might discover…

  • The real color of Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz
  • A gadget Alexander Graham Bell built to save a president’s life (it failed)
  • The original Star-Spangled Banner and some “bombs bursting” on silver
  • Edison’s first bulb, a bizarre toaster, and other electrical innovations
  • Lincoln’s last top hat and Mary Lincoln’s bird feet
  • Julia Child’s kitchen, apparently plagued by elves

Plus, full-size locomotives, vintage cars, monstrous machines, and many more amazing artifacts. But you don’t have to be a historian to triumph—you just need good teamwork, sharp eyes, and comfortable shoes.

Great for group activities in D.C.

Since our first hunt at this museum in 2004, countless groups have boosted teamwork and morale on this hunt. Boost the team-building experience even more with the Mixed Alliances Edition, in which teams take turns working with other teams. You must collaborate and cooperate to win.

Young hunters can get in on the fun as well, with a Kids Edition suitable for ages 7 and up. It’s perfect for an unusual school field trip that even the chaperones will love, a birthday party that guests will be talking about for days, or an exciting summer-camp outing that the kids will write home about.

What people are saying about the scavenger hunt at the Smithsonian

“We did the scavenger hunt for a team building exercise and loved it. We had a great time and can highly recommend it.” —a review posted on Google

“This company makes attractions even more fun! They were very organized, well planned and gave clear directions. The amount of time given was perfect and the hosts were wonderful.  Thank you, Watson Adventures!”—a review on Yelp

  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Murder at the Museum of American History Scavenger Hunt

Can you deduce who dunnit?

Someone—or some thing—has been bumping off staffers at the National Museum of American History who were involved in the discovery of a long-lost invention by Benjamin Franklin. This “infernal machine” has a murky past: Freemasons supposedly used it as part of a secret ritual. Were the deaths caused by the invention? Is the fabled Curse of the Freemasons real? Or is there a serial killer on the loose?

Your team of sleuths will have to crack a code and uncover the museum’s secrets to solve the mystery and stop the killings.

Along the way, you might also…

  • Peer into artificial eyes
  • Analyze a car wreck
  • Ride a Chicago train
  • Ponder an ancient priest who seems to sing “Y.M.C.A.”
  • Find out which common kitchen ingredient is explosive
  • Catch a nuclear football
  • Connect a Civil War sword with Sherman’s Bow Tie
  • And avoid stepping on a spying device disguised as poop

No previous knowledge is required to play—or to win. You just need sharp eyes, comfy shoes, and great teamwork.

  • private
  • kids
  • teens
  • indoor

The National Treasures Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Go on a field trip across the country

Pack your (imaginary) bags to go on an amazing journey across centuries and a continent on a scavenger hunt that reveals the best of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. On teams, kids and their chaperone will follow clues that guide you through galleries, in search of answers to tricky, humorous questions.

One moment you’ll be examining Dorothy’s ruby slippers to learn about the Yellow Brick Road; the next you’ll be looking at ball gowns worn by First Ladies; and after that you’ll goggle at massive locomotives and early cars that once raced across the continent. You’ll be dazzled by what you discover—but know previous knowledge of American history is required to win. You just need sharp eyes, comfy shoes, and good teamwork.

Along the way, your team might…

  • “Pass” a president’s “nuclear football.”
  • Search the many rooms of the largest doll house you’ve ever seen.
  • Examine charred wood from the time the White House was set on fire.
  • Look in horror at a talking doll created by electricity pioneer Thomas Edison.
  • Salute a heroic pigeon from World War I.

The scavenger hunt provides a great way for kids to learn about American history. It will pique their curiosity and leave them eager to learn more. And they will have a museum experience that makes them eager to return. As a school field trip activity, the game spurs teamwork and highlights how the talents of each player are needed for success.

Plus the scavenger hunt is a great activity for kids and adults to enjoy together. Families will especially enjoy this activity.

What happy hunters are saying

“This company makes attractions even more fun! They were very organized, well planned and gave clear directions. The amount of time given was perfect and the hosts were wonderful. Thank you Watson Adventures!” —a five-star review posted on Yelp by the leader of a school group

Contact us to learn more—and find more fun in Washington, D.C.!

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