Let’s wind the clock back a good century or more before the age of Hamilton, and the nascent United States, to the 17th century, when the Dutch Republic was a world power, and a commercial powerhouse. Mastery of the seas and nautical expertise were essential to the Dutch and were a constant theme of Dutch painting.

An exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, “Water, Wind and Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age,” will use paintings, drawings, prints, books and ship models to explore the complicated and rich relationship of the Dutch not just to the ocean, but also to the world of water that was all around them as a country of lowlands and canals. Among the artists included in the show are some of the great masters of the age, including Jan van Goyen, Aelbert Cuyp, Rembrandt van Rijn and Willem van de Velde the Younger.

This summer turns out to have one of the busier offseason calendars in years. The Hirshhorn will open the first major U.S. exhibition of the work of German painter Georg Baselitz in more than 20 years. Mounted in honor of the painter’s 80th birthday, “Baselitz: Six Decades” will include more than 100 works, spread throughout the museum’s second-floor galleries, with paintings, sculpture and works on paper on view. Baselitz is one of the preeminent figures of postwar German art, and his work has prodded at the pieties of German society and politics for decades. The Smithsonian American Art Museum will also open a midcareer survey of the work of Trevor Paglen, a conceptual artist whose photography has explored issues related to surveillance, privacy, artificial intelligence and privacy.

But the summer is also a time for catching up and re-engaging with the arts and cultural institutions in the city that are always free and rich in content. If you’re particularly fascinated by the time period depicted in the ubiquitous (and incredibly expensive) musical dominating the Kennedy Center for the summer months, head to the Library of Congress, where several long-term exhibitions explore American history in detail, among them “Exploring the Early Americas” and “Mapping a Growing Nation.” And don’t miss the National Museum of the American Indian’s excellent “Americans” exhibition, which includes fascinating and painful chapters on the history of European encounters with this county’s native population, including particular focus on the Colonial era and the Early Republic.