What to See While at SHRM: The HR Pro's Tour of DC

The annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference is almost here and this year’s conference is chock full of interesting and relevant workshops, lectures, activities and star-studded industry favorites. This year’s event, which runs June 19-22, will be held in Washington D.C., a city that’s not only our nation’s capital but one that also offers an amazing range of fun things to see and do. In order to help you make the most of your time we’ve come up with an itinerary of D.C.’s must-sees especially geared toward human resources professionals. Happy travels!

1. Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

President Obama may have designated this historic building a national monument just a few months ago, but that’s not to say that a great deal didn’t happen at this spot prior to the designation. For 90 years the site was home to the National Women’s Party, founded by Alice Paul, suffragette and champion of women’s rights. Taking over where Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony left off, Paul and the NWP worked tirelessly, securing passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, drafting the ERA, founding the World Women’s Party and establishing the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. 

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

The FDR Memorial celebrates the legacy of the president who brought us out of the Great Depression, putting thousands of people back to work with programs such as the Works Progress Administration. Perhaps FDR was looking ahead to the contributions of HR professionals when he spoke to Americans on September 30, 1934? 

"No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources,” said President Roosevelt. “Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order."

3. National Museum of Health and Medicine

The healthcare industry continues to grow, providing jobs and medical care for millions of Americans. Discover its fascinating story by paying a visit to this historic site, established as the Army Medical Museum during the Civil War. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the NMHM’s most noteworthy exhibition on the assassination of President Lincoln, “includes fragments of the slain president’s skull, pieces of hair, part of the doctor’s blood-stained shirt cuff, and reproductions of Lincoln’s face and hands — even the lead ball removed from his head …” 

Slightly off the beaten path, the museum is located in Silver Spring, Md. but is easy to access by riding Washington’s excellent Metro subway system to either the Silver Spring and Forest Glen stations on Metro's Red Line. For more information about Metro including maps, schedules, and information for visitors, go to their website.

4. National Building Museum

If you are involved in the construction, architecture, engineering or design fields, you can’t miss a trip to this world-class museum. Before entering, spend some time appreciating the exterior of the building, modeled after the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Inside, feast your eyes on the Great Hall, featuring four Corinthian columns that are “among the tallest classical columns in the world.” Also enjoy exhibits such as “House and Home,” “Small Stories: At Home in a Doll’s House” and “Around the World in 80 Paper Models.” If you’ve brought the family along for the conference, take note: The National Building Museum is a huge favorite with the younger set.

5. Museum of Industry

Though it’s not right around the corner, this museum, located less than an hour away in Baltimore, is well worth the trip. One of the few museums dedicated to the history of labor, we can’t think of a more appropriate stop for an HR professional. The BMI’s exhibitions invite visitors to step back in time to the industrial revolution as it impacted the port city of Baltimore. You’ll tour a turn-of-the-century pharmacy, garment factory, print shop and machine shop. The museum’s new exhibition, “Then and Now: Baltimore in the Public Eye,” contrasts photographs from the museum’s BGE archival collection with contemporary photos of the same sites, as seen through the eyes of professional and amateur photographers.

Do you have other recommendations for sightseeing in Washington, D.C.? Share them on Facebook or Twitter.

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