Women’s rights are an important part of U.S. history, and continue to evolve even in the 21st century. Take a tour through the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument to see how women’s suffrage evolved, the National Woman’s Party grew and the 19th Amendment was finally ratified, giving women the right to vote.
In our effort to highlight all of the best museums in Washington, D.C, we spoke with Susan Philpott, Park Ranger at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, to share what makes this national historic site and national monument so important for anyone living in the District, on a trip to D.C., and what you need to know before you go.
Where is the museum located?
Location: Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, 144 Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Is the museum accessible?
There is an outside lift from the street to the museum entrance that is operated by staff. Call (202) 543-2240 upon arrival for access.
- An interior lift provides access to the first floor exhibits.
- The second floor is only accessible via stairs.
- Introductory video is captioned.
- ASL interpretation of the museum tour is available with at least 24 hour notice.
- There are no recorded audio tours of exhibits.
- No Braille or languages other than English provided for handouts or exhibit panels.
What topics does the museum cover?
The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument takes you inside the fight for women’s suffrage, especially the work of the National Woman’s Party for the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, and the ongoing struggle for women’s social, political and economic equality in America.
What is your museum’s claim to fame?
The monument has been the historic headquarters of the National Woman’s Party since 1929, and was founded by Alice Paul.
The museum is located in a house constructed by Robert Sewall in 1800, burned by the British in August 1814, and rebuilt by 1820.
What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?
The original banners used by suffragists who picketed the White House.
What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?
- Women’s History Month Open House in March
- Women’s Equality Day in August
Are there guided tours available?
Guided tours are offered every day at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and last approximately 1 hour. (Please check website at nps.gov/bepa for availability).
Groups of 10 or more must call or email prior to visit for a tour reservation.
Tours are offered in English. ASL interpretation available with at least 24 hours prior notice.
Visitors may self-guide through the exhibits at any time during operating hours. There is a 6-minute introductory video available upon request. There are no audio tours available at this time.
How much time should someone plan to spend at the museum?
Guests should plan to spend between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument.
What should someone bring with them and what items are not allowed in the museum?
No food or drink are allowed in the exhibit area. No firearms allowed on site.
Definitely, bring your curiosity!
Is photography allowed inside (without flash)?
What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum?
There is a Junior Suffragist activity book; visitors can earn a Junior Suffragist badge by completing the activities. There is also a coloring station.
For activities available for Scout groups (Girl Scouts, Scouts BSA)–contact the park for more information.
What’s the coolest item for sale in the gift shop?
Books, mugs, postcards, suffrage sash, and a plush Suffrage Cat.
Is there a museum cafe or restaurant?
There is no cafe or restaurant onsite. The museum is within a few blocks of several restaurants and cafes, including those at Union Station.
What should teachers planning a field trip know before reaching out to you?
The rooms are small. The maximum number of students for a ranger-led tour is 25-30.
Groups of up to 60 can visit at one time to self-guide through the exhibits without a tour with staff available to answer questions.
U.S. Capitol Police restrict vehicle size on Capitol Hill so buses must drop off passengers a few blocks away. We can customize the tour and activities to focus on specific aspects of the story upon prior request.
What else should a visitor know before visiting?
There is an outdoor patio and small garden. Visitors are welcome to explore and sit outside.
What are your normal days and hours of operation?
- Wednesday-Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Does the museum have a bag check or coat room?
There is an unattended coat rack for guests to use.
Is there parking available?
No. Street parking may be found in the neighborhood.
Is there an admission fee?
No fee. Admission is free.