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DC RoadTrip – Part 2

March 7, 2017

That first day we walked 13 miles. Now I know why another name for legs is “stumps,” because that’s what they felt like. My calf muscles were as tight as an overstrung harp and the bottom of my feet felt like bruised blisters.  As previously posted, we visited the mall. Now it was time for the museums.

I love museums. History and I are buds. The parts that weren’t aching were all a-tingle about visiting the Smithsonian.

The American History Museum

I expected to be wowed.

I wasn’t.

Where was the American History? History should be chronological. Truthfully, the exhibit I remember was the First Ladies Dress Collection. I’m sure there was more. There must have been. Lunch for three, $53. For salad and sandwiches.

Air and Space Museum

OK, but the Air and Space Museum would make up for it. There it was: The Star Ship Enterprise, next to the Deathstar. Only it wasn’t the Deathstar, it was the Teledyne Satellite. OK, that’s all cool. I started looking around. There was space stuff; just like the ones at Kennedy Space Center, only smaller.

I’ll be honest, this was a great museum, if I’d had more time to dig into some of the exhibits. I love space exploration, and though it was small, it was rich in stuff I already knew.

Let me take a moment to reflect on what I pondered then. I am blessed. Pampered. Privileged.  I’ve been to major museums across the country. Kennedy Space Center, DisneyWorld, SeaWorld, Science Centers of several states, the Grand Canyon, Redwoods, Carlsbad Caverns, Mammoth Caves, and so much more. Each museum was filled with kids on field trips. Most were interesting in chasing their friends around, but a few were happily geeking out.  So was I.  Don’t think I wasn’t impressed and loving it, but the joy and amazement were absent.

The Smithsonian

I really liked the Smithsonian Museum about the Smithsonian. That was great, as was the 3D map.

DAY 2

The Museum of Natural History

This was the one I was waiting for. I wish I had hours to wander and that the running kids would let me get closer. The Elephant at the entrance was spectacular. The Ocean was my favorite section. There was some good stuff crammed in here. The Mammals were also fun (a mother pointed at the Rhino and said, “that’s the largest living mammal, kids!”  I shook my head at her and mouthed “Elephant – on land.” She frowned. “Second largest, kids.”  “Hippo” I mouthed. She gathered up her kids and moved off. I was just trying to help. And we’d even seen a baby blue whale hanging in the air not too far away; the adult dwarfing the land mammals.  Oh well.

Somewhere a kid whined, “Where are the dinosaurs?!”  I silently agreed with him.

The Smithsonian museums are hurting for space. When we finally got there, my inner little boy squealed at the T-Rex tail wrapping around the exhibit wall. I limp to see it. Another juvenile.  It was only two feet higher than me. I sighed and turned to see the Triceratops, my favorite dinosaur. It too was a baby. I remembered being astonished at the Rocky Mountain Museum in Montana at the vast size of the Trike. I’d had no idea they were that big. I’d thought they were, well, this big.

Still cool, don’t get me wrong. Some beautiful photography exhibits and Elephant Discovery stations had great views of the elephant downstairs, and examples of ivory horrors. There were also some gem and crystal exhibits.

Art Museums

As mentioned before, there were a lot of field trips going on. Down the street, a new African American Museum has opened. As I wandered the halls and rooms of pictures, I also saw scads of black children. Looking at a sea of painted white people. Even the characters of history who should have been people of color were white. As much as I loved the art, this fact saddened me. If there is an African American art museum, I wish they’d integrate it into these. I’ve seen some amazing black art that could have a room of a dozen of their own. The only black painter exhibit had no paintings of people. I’d like to see a greater presence of black scientists, artists, mathematicians, and national heroes integrated into the appropriate museums and not as separate exhibits.

Capital Building and The Library of Congress

We hobbled down to the best view of the Capital Building. Beautiful architecture. Then my wife said, let’s go around to the back. I wanted to, I really did. I’d hoped by this time my legs would have been numb. She insisted and I’m so glad she did.Image result for library of congress

We walked the mile around (ouch ouch ouch), and came face to face with not only the backside of Congress, but the Supreme Court and the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress! We couldn’t get into court, but I was all a-tingle again about entering the Library of Congress. After security we hit the information desk. I asked how to look up my book. “You can’t.” But it’s here! “You can look at the library card, but you can’t see the book.” That’s OK, I’ve seen the book, I just want to see that card that says it’s here. They gave me directions, but first we hit Jefferson’s Awesome Library (not it’s real name, but it should be). Then looked out over the reading room from the lookout.  We then looked at Indian documents. OK, cool.

Then my daughter called. She was done meeting with the Congressmen and would meet us out front. So I didn’t get to see my book’s card, but I did see the Guttenberg Bible.

Protesters

As we approached the back of Congress, off in the distance, we saw protesters in their natural environment!  I warned my people not to feed them, because they might follow us home. I prepared my list of questions for them (if I could get an article out of this, I could write the trip off on next year’s taxes), and stealthily moved closer. Then we realized it was another field trip. Sigh. No protesters. At all. That was on my list. Once I found out Trump had spoken at Congress the night before, I was expecting some wildlife. No such luck.

Now it was time to go get the car, brave rush hour traffic and get down to Lynchburg, three hours away. That’s tomorrow’s post.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 8, 2017 2:07 pm

    Last time I was there we took a rickshaw from one end of the mall to the other. Best money spent during that trip. I love the mall area and especially love the Lincoln Memorial (like you mentioned yesterday). While I’m not a huge museum person, I do like them but the crowds get to me. I don’t like feeling like cattle. Glad you were able to experience so much and hope you will be able to stand on your feet for Lynchburg.

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