Museum Passport to Freedom


Museum Passport to Freedom
Encouraging Students to Visit Museums

“Children who visit museums have higher achievement in reading, math, and science.” Institute of Museum and Library Services

The African American Civil War Museum (Museum) has established the Museum Passport to Freedom Program in 2017 to encourage students to visit museums in their community regularly and take advantage of engaging learning experiences available at these institutions. 

The Museum Passport to Freedom Program was inspired by a study conducted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2014.  IMLS found that students who visit museums early in life have higher achievement scores in reading, math and science.  Furthermore, the study showed that students from low-income homes are less likely to visit museums than their more affluent counterparts.  The Museum endeavors to close the achievement gap by affording all students the benefits of museum learning and encouraging families to visit museums together.  Under the program, the Museum has outreach fellows who visit schools, share the Museum’s programs, and arrange field trips to the Museum.  Each student receives an age-appropriate book and a “passport” to have stamped when visiting other museums.  When a student fills their passport with stamps, they may return it to the Museum for a prize.

The Museum has distributed over 5,000 passports and provided field trips to students living east of the river in the District of Columbia’s poorest communities.  The DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities provided the initial funding for the program.  The W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided matching funds.    


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Institute of Museum and Library Services 2014 study linking higher achievement to museum visits. 

September 25, 2018

The African American Civil War Museum was presented with the District’s 33rd Annual Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Humanities for the Museum Passport to Freedom Program.

The Mayor’s Arts Awards are the most prestigious honors conferred by the city on individual artists, teachers, nonprofit organizations, and patrons of the arts. Artists and organizations were recognized in six categories: Excellence in Visual Arts, Excellence in Performing Arts, Excellence in Creative Industries, Excellence in Arts Education, Excellence in the Humanities, and The Larry Neal Writers’ Award.

For a listing of winners in other categories and more information follow the link below to the press release.


Annual Reports on the Museum Passport to Freedom Program


Each student visiting the African American Civil War Museum may receive a passport book.  Students who visit museums, like those who visit countries, can get their passports stamped at Washington, D.C. area museums and monument sites, as well as at other museums and monuments throughout the United States.  

Students may return their passport after receiving at least 12 stamps to redeem them for a prize.  Click on the passport image below to access guidelines and find out how you can redeem your passport for a prize. 


Check out these images from past Museum Passport to Freedom Fieldtrips


Schedule your Fieldtrip Today!


The Museum Passport to Freedom program is sponsored in part by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.