Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun at the Smithsonian Museums

One of the really neat opportunities in Washington DC was visiting some of the Smithsonian Museums. There are a bunch in DC ( I think 19) and they are all free to visit.

The first one we went to was the National Portrait Gallery where we enjoyed looking at all the portraits of the presidents. We didn't have much time there (like 20 minutes) but enjoyed what we did get to see. The building was neat too.

I had fun figuring out have to take nice pictures without flash (which is not allowed).

The first one is George Washington (I assume you would know that actually) but do you know the next one? I have been enjoying reading a book about him lately and have come to really respect all that he did for our country. It is John Adams our 2nd president.

I thought the painting of President George Bush was excellent. I think the photo almost looks like I was there visiting with him.

We also went to the Air and Space Museum. My favorite part was probably the display about the Wright Brothers. Here is Ken by a model of their planes. (It may have been an actual one, I don't remember for sure but I know I was constantly amazed by the things they were able and went to the lengths to collect for each museum.

We weren't at this museum real long, I was eager to get on to the American History Museum.

We really enjoyed the American History Museum! We spent a lot of time at the "America on the move" exhibit. Ken was especially fascinated and we spent hours there.
The had really neat exhibits with stuff related with transportation and geography. They had the old carriages, trains, cars, etc. along with statues and other objects to complete the scene. We had fun joining some of the scenes.
We also had fun visiting an exhibit about an old home (which they had moved there from Mass. or someplace like that) and looking at the exhibit about wars. We saw the chairs and table where Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee had sat to figure out the surrendered agreement for the Civil War.

This museum is someplace we really would like to go to again as we missed so much still. I would have loved to see all the inaugural ball gowns but the line was long and there was so much else to see. We did eat in the cafeteria there which was fun but a little spendy. (However since the museum was free it did all even out.)

One of the most moving parts of our Visit to Washington DC was visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I have read a lot of World War 2 and the Holocaust (some well known books that I would recommend are "The Hiding Place" and The Diary of Anne Frank") and so it was very meaningful for me. Ken hasn't read as much about that so more of it was new to him but whether new or not seeing it presented like in the museum was very moving. ( In fact writing this and thinking about what it was like makes me feel like crying.)

There were many videos to watch as well as pictures galore. The also had things like bunk beds from Aushwitz (where they had 6 people on each bed), a rail car that Jews were transported in, a room full of shoes (thousands of pairs probably) that were taken off prior to their owners being gassed, so many things that had very real owners who didn't get to live simply because they weren't of the desired race or type.

This museum is not recommended for those under 11 and I would wholeheartedly agree with that! As we were leaving we were quiet (going through something like that really makes you that way) and I was at loss for words how to describe that experience, you couldn't say "Well that was fun" (which was true of most places we went) but yet I think it was good that we went. Ken voiced that he thought it was important that we remember what happened so we can help to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. At that time there were so many people just standing by and letting it go on because at least it wasn't happening to them (and there were many others that didn't stand by and made a huge difference in many lives), we don't ever want to be like those that just stand by.

That is all of the Smithsonian museums that we managed to visit this trip. Hopefully we will get to go see more some day! I would enjoy going to see the zoo especially but decided to wait on that until we had the kids with us. I am sure glad we went to the Holocaust Museum this trip when we didn't have the kids along.

If you have been there what museums are your favorites?


Becky R said...

now you guys have to see Night at the Museum 2

Dusty said...

Oh, you have made me miss my hometown! I grew up only 40 minutes from D.C. and now, being 6 hours away, I don't get to revisit as often as I'd like! I can't wait until we make at trip up there in October to see my parents, we will be taking our children to the National Zoo for the first time!

Abbi said...

Becky~ I think Ken has possibly seen that, but I haven't.

Dusty~ I am sorry to make you homesick! D.C. was a neat place to go. I am really looking forward to taking our kids some day.


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