Big Trips are Back!


Cassidi Mushenski

Hopkins Academy recently went on a five-day long trip to Washington D.C. making two stops along the way, one in Philadelphia, and one in Gettysburg. This trip was filled with fun memories made that are sure to last a lifetime.

Making our first stop in Philly, we took a deep dive into the history of medicine at the Mutter Museum. This museum was filled with antique medical equipment, wax models, and anatomical specimens. One of the most notable parts of this museum was the wall filled with hundreds of skulls coming from all over the world, each with a different cause of death. 

After the museum, we got to see many historical buildings and artifacts such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Philadelphia City Hall. We got split into three smaller groups, each with their own tour guide to bring us around the city. When we eventually met back up with the rest of the group, it was time for dinner. Being in Philly, of course, we couldn’t leave without having Philly cheesesteaks. Afterward, we left Philadelphia and headed for our hotel in D.C. Upon arriving, we settled in and prepared for the next couple of days. 

Thursday morning, we headed out to start off our day with a tour of the monuments. We stopped by the Jefferson and Lincoln monuments, as well as the MLK and Roosevelt memorials. The monuments were really cool and they were powerful to see not only the architecture of them but also the meaning behind them. Later that day we split up again to choose from the Natural History Museum, American History Museum, or National Art Gallery. We rounded out the second day by going to the theater to see Chicago, which is a musical. 

Day three began with a tour of the Capitol Building given by none other than the Massachusetts State Representative, Jim Mcgovern. Taken into the Capitol Building, we were able to see all of the intricate details from floor to ceiling in each room. We had a brief glance into both the Supreme Court and the Senate Chamber. We were also taken out onto the balcony of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From the balcony, we had a beautiful view of the Washington Monument and D.C. itself. After some brief shopping, we headed to the Library of Congress. We were able to see the beautiful intricate Italian renaissance style paintings covering the ceiling. Some students took the time to look into the main reading room where you can see people studying and working, as well as the Thomas Jefferson book collection. From here, we went to Mt. Vernon to see George Washington’s massive estate. We had very detailed guided tours of the inside of his mansion and what it was like for the enslaved people to work there. After eating at a fish market, we ended the day with a fun ghost tour of Alexandria, VA, where we heard real recorded ghost stories from the town. 

Saturday, we headed to Arlington Cemetery where we saw hundreds of thousands of graves of American soldiers along with some spouses and children. Most notably, we saw Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John F Kennedy’s graves. We then stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched as the guard was changed. Leaving Arlington, we went to the African American History Museum to see all of the contributions African Americans made to better our society. Afterward, our next stop was the Holocaust Museum. Here, we were informed of all of the violence and deaths caused by the Holocaust. We listened to real stories recounted by survivors and saw many artifacts that were found and preserved. The museum was a time line in chronological order, starting on the fourth floor, so it made it that much more powerful when learning about the horrible events of the Holocaust. Afterward, we went to dinner at Medieval Times where we watched a show of dueling and jousting between six knights. In the end our knight lost, but everyone had a good time, anyway.

Our last day was mostly spent traveling back home, however, we made one last stop at Gettysburg. We had a look around the Gettysburg Museum and watched a short documentary about the battle. Then we headed upstairs to see a small narrated light show on the 360-degree painting, which made it feel like we in a real picture of a battle scene. After the Museum, we went on the buses with a tour guide to take us around Gettysburg and show us all of the important monuments and areas around Gettysburg where the Battle of Gettysburg took place. 

From Gettysburg, we headed home. We ended our trip in high spirits with lots of new memories made with friends.