Founded in 1971, Close Up is a non-profit that educates and inspires young people to become informed and engaged citizens. We fulfill our mission mainly by providing challenging, hands-on civic education programs for students and teachers in Washington, DC. Over 850,000 students and educators have experienced Washington DC with Close Up.

Using the nation’s capital as a living classroom, students get a “close up” view of government and American history as they interact with the people, places, and processes that make this federal city so unique. All of our programs include visits to Smithsonian Museums, Arlington Cemetery, the National Archives, Capitol Hill, the White House, and the myriad of famous monuments and memorials that dot the DC landscape.

The Close Up student experience is enhanced by our interactive approach to educating middle school students. Close Up is not just a tour, nor is it a series of lectures. Close Up takes what students learn in the classroom and bring it to life! Close Up really does make learning fun! Additionally, students have the opportunity to share and learn with students from around the country.

The Close Up program presents many learning opportunities in a supportive environment led by our outstanding faculty. Our instructors are not just contracted tour guides – they are Close Up employees who have been carefully selected for our middle school programs and have undergone over 120 hours of curriculum training. Close Up’s instructors help students learn more about their history and government by engaging them in fun, educational, and interactive activities at Washington’s famous historic sites. This keeps students informed, excited, and interested. They are not just passively listening to a tour guide…they are making a personal connection with the famous places in DC.

All Close Up activities are designed with your student’s safety in mind. We have night monitors in place at each hotel throughout the evening, instructors trained in First Aid and CPR, and specialized access to Georgetown Medical Center in the event of an emergency. With over 40 years of experience, we make every effort to ensure that your students have the safest, most enjoyable, and most memorable experience possible in Washington, DC.

To enroll your child in a Close Up program, simply contact your school’s Close Up teacher. If your school does not have a Close Up teacher, just contact us or refer a teacher today!

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"The Close-Up program helped me in ways that I thought was unimaginable. I really made a lot of friends and have so many good memories - we developed such a bond in such short time!"

   – Willie, Student, OH
Educating for democracy since 1971