Thursday, April 9, 2009


Okay, so since I promised Brian I would finish my D.C./NYC posts, here is the last one for Washington D.C.

National Archives

Well, I have to force myself to stop obsessing about the loss of the pictures from this place. I am just telling myself that because we couldn't use the flash, and the lights were all dimmed that they would have come out dark anyway.

This place was one of the most impressive places we visited on our trip. For those of you who don't know what the National Archives building is, think National Treasure 1 when he has to steal the Declaration of Independence. That's the same room, but much darker, cooler and it sort of had a grayish-brown feel to the lighting.

The most important original documents for our country are here. Declaration, Constitution, Bill of Rights, among many others. While we were there, since it was right around the time of Lincoln's birthday, they were having a special exhibit to view the Emancipation Proclamation (free slavery document). It was so humbling to see such important documents in our history being so well-preserved. And yet to find out that they are fading rapidly by the years is very saddening. We found out that most of these documents were just stuffed in some guys' closet for many, many years. So they weren't ever preserved in any way at all. walk into a giant dimly-lit, light brown marble-lined, oval room with murals painted all along the top depicting our forefathers, while beneath were glass topped cases housing document after document. The three most important (the ones listed above) EACH had one guard posted next to them. It really put into perspective the importance of preserving them. I'm really at a loss for words. I don't know why I can't eloquently put into writing how I felt. You really just have to see it for yourselves.
This picture of the girls was taken outside of the main document room. I'm so glad I had it. The rest of the museum was really cool. It cheered Xoe right up, who had, up until this point, been melting down. I don't know what was wrong with her, she must have just been tired. But the minute we got to the hands-on exhibit, she was so stoked.

The Museum wanted to show what they did there, and the role it played in protecting the documents of the American people. It showed how they store maps of the nation in drawers and when borders change how the document it. It had an exhibit where you could pull out Top Secret documents, or navigate on a computer screen, pulling and pushing buttons, how they move from document to document. There was also one where they had all the old kinds of computers (Brian's favorite part) and the sizes of hard drives it used to take to house the documents, as compared to now. It really had so much there that if I wrote them all, my writings would go on and on and I think it would get really boring. Just know that they have made all these places very kid-friendly. And did I mention that they're all FREE? How cool is that?

The Smithsonians

So, I kinda feel a bit stupid regarding the topic of the Smithsonians. I kinda feel like the whole world has known what the "SmithsonianS" (plural) are and yet I've just been dumb this whole time. In Washington D.C. alone, there are about 14 Smithsonian museum. Daunting, yet impressive, isn't it? Each Smithsonian has a different theme... modern art, decorative art, portraiture, zoological (real animals), air and space, etc. We only had time to pick 2, so we went to the Natural History Museum (which we heard Night at the Museum 2 was filmed in) and the American History Museum.

Natural History Museum

I didnt' get any pictures from the Natural History Museum. There's only so many dinosaur bones you can see. But the one thing they had there were JEWELS!

I know this seems weird to post about jewels but these were really impressive jewels. One set was from Marie Antoinette, another from a Spanish princess (don't know her name). They also housed the largest diamond, the Hope Diamond, which has been around since the 1600's. Gifts from Napoleon

I don't know if you can read this but this next set is a gift from Emperor Napoleon to his wife on the BIRTH OF THEIR CHILD. Note to Brian: I want this kind of jewelry after giving birth!

The Hope Diamond

American History Museum
Amongst the lost pictures were some of the entryway to the museum. The entryway is very cool because the floors are stark white and all along the walls are ceiling-tall glass cases that have displays of some of the biggest inventions in American History. The first lawnmowers, the first washing machine (and then all of its successors of ways to wash clothes). It also had artifacts from major turning points of American History... war helmets and "Food Drop Boxes" they used to drop to refugees. They had an old phone switchboard, a mailbox that survived the floods of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and an old wooden Tavern sign from an old American Tavern in the 1600's. I really got lost in this part of the museum. I think this museum was my favorite (I wasn't fond of the Natural History one with dinosaurs, etc.)
This was the Invention Exhibit. I was really having a good time, and so were the girls. It showed people who's inventions have changed the world (like polymer lining and how one woman's invention has changed bullet proof vests from being so heavy, to making stronger ropes).
Here, the lesson was teaching the kids that inventors are usually problem solvers and have to invent something from only have a certain amount of things. The kids were supposed to take these household items that had magnets on the back and form them into a path that when a ball was dropped down, it could land in a hole. Get it? Problem solving with what you have. We had a hard time pulling the girls away from this one.

Some things I didn't get pictures of: The First Ladies Inaugural Ball Gown Exhibit (and their stationery and china was on display too), the History of Music (with old instruments) and the Transportation Exhibit. These places are huge.
Miniature Dollhouse
The girls died over this. If any of you know, their Auntie Nanette found a dollhouse for them with all the miniatures in it ($3,000 value for $100) and so they're all in love with anything miniature. They were so discouraged when we went to FAO Schwarz and the man behind the counter was so mean. So, they wanted to sit and look at every room of this house. This house belonged to a little girl who started it off in her closet and then had her dad build shelves out of a whole wall for her. It even had an attic and she would change it for the changing seasons. It truly was amazing.
And of course, who wouldn't be in love with seeing the real Kermit the Frog?
And Oscar the Grouch... That shirt is from one of the Seinfeld episode. I'm sure most of you remember it.
And last, but SURELY NOT LEAST, are one of the pairs of ruby red slippers Judy Garland wore in the filming of Wizard of Oz.

....Okay, so I lied. There are some fun pictures of the Capitol at Night. I want to end this post so I'll post those tomorrow.

1 comment:

Randi said...

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!!!!!