WOW! Our trip to Washington DC is going to have to be two blogs!! Five days of walking resulted in LOTS of pictures! About eighteen years ago, we went to Washington…..and walked and walked and walked!
This time, we thought, we won’t walk as much because we are going to focus on the Smithsonian Museums…….Guess what? We walked and walked and walked!! Even more than in Israel! Five days was enough for our aging bodies!
We took the Metro in each day, and by the end of the week, we felt pretty confident in maneuvering the underground.
We only missed getting off at our stop once; and we had a hard time determining which direction we needed to go once we got onto the street. But everyone was so friendly and if we stood for a minute with the map, someone would ask if they could help!
National Air and Space Museum had so much to see… 23 galleries! Exhibits include hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets and related artifacts from the beginning to the present. It really struck me how fast airplanes then space ships developed once the Wright brothers got off the ground! The most interesting in my opinion:
first Wright brothers 1903 model,
as well as the more successful 1911 model
first mail plane center; bottom Amelia Earhart’s “Red Bus”, and Lindberg’s plane to the right.
Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis is also there.
first airplane to break the sound barrier and create the sonic boom in the 50’s
first US rocket shot up into space in 1958
the Mercury, the first US manned space ship to orbit the earth with John Glenn at the controls in 1962. It was a very tight fit for a full grown man!
and Darkstar, a reconnaissance gathering plane that was built between 1996-99. I remember seeing these flying over Julian!
We decided to stop in Chinatown on the way home, and had a great chinese dinner,
located at the historic, former Surratt boarding house, where it is said the conspirators plotted the abduction of President Lincoln
Ford Theatre is not one of the Smithsonian museums, but since we had both just finished reading Lincoln’s biography we thought it would be fun to revisit.
The basement museum was definitely different from our recollection! We only remember a small museum at the front of the theatre,
The gun Booth used.
(Also Booth’s boot was there, but I neglected to get a picture!)
The theatre remained as we remembered, but we were able to go to the balcony this time. A short talk was given by one of the rangers. The building was originally a Baptist church.
Across the street, where Lincoln was taken after he was shot and died,
now includes a new learning center next door, just opened 6 weeks ago!
The four story stack of books on Lincoln was impressive!
National Museum of Natural History was amazing.
The 45.52 carat Hope Diamond is on display,
but I could not get a picture that showed the true color or showed its true beauty! It is a beautiful, deep sky blue, more like a sapphire color! This was the best I could get;
with 16 white diamonds surrounding it and 46 on the platinum chain.
Many more jewels were on display, including these pieces of alexandrite
and so many types of stones….
Different types of quartz
and some from near where we used to live, Mesa Grande
and Tourmaline King Mine,
Bones not only from snakes and animals,
but humans as well!
All told stories of where and how they lived!
There was quite a display of mammals
God’s creations are wonderful!
(The disappointing part of the museum is that they had a whole section on evolution!)
Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle) is the original building and is now the information center.
I guess this is where you are supposed to start! In the hall was a sampling of things to see in each of the associated museums.
It was raining that day, so we chose to see the closest museum, which was the Freer.
Freer Gallery is a collection of Asian art.
The building which surrounds a courtyard, had a variety of Chinese, Korean and Japanese artwork and objects.
Japanese screens and
brass and silver canteen from ancient Arab world depicts the nativity in the center, as well as inscriptions, saints and knights.
In one of the corners of the building was the Peacock Room. This was a highlight for me. To understand and
for the very interesting story behind the room, click on Peacock Room for the link~
Basically, in London a wealthy business man had his dining room painted and designed to go with his painting by J Whistler called The Princess from the Land of Porcelain. He also wanted to display his collection of blue and white ceramics. He eventually displayed a mix of other ceramic vessels. After he died his wife, who did not like it, had it all removed and boxed up. It eventually became a private exhibition space in Detroit, then it was donated to the Smithsonian when Mr. Freer, the Detroit owner, died.
Although dark, it was really an elegant room!
It stopped raining, so we decided to walk to the American Indian Museum and try the the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe for lunch.
National Museum of the American Indian encompassed all!
Representing different tribes, a beautiful hand carved Inuit boat,
along with an intriguing sculpture was carved by an Inuit from the skull of a bonehead whale,
Sitting Bull gun
St Laurant Indian ice fishing vehicle,
and even a display fom our San Diego County Indian tribe!
A special horse exhibit included horse masks of different materials:
Feathers and buffalo skins
A teepee and
horse dressed for ceremony
were also displayed.
Outside displays contrasted the Capitol building.
Two more days…….and lots more pictures…….. coming up on the next blog……