March 6, 2010

The National Museum of American History

Since we live so close to Washington DC, just an hour on paper, and there are so many wonderful cultural things to take part in, people assume that residents of our town would spend a great deal of time visiting all the wonderful attractions. The Smithsonian alone contains 19 museums alone, all free to the public. When people come to visit, they often request a hop into the city for some sightseeing. Which always makes us cringe.

Many people who live around here commute to the Capital for work everyday and the traffic is less than desirable. You have one of two options.... get up at three am to be at your office before the rush hour starts at 5 am or get up at a reasonable hour and sit in dead stop traffic for 2 hours one way. Once you get into the city, parking, strange traffic patterns, and yet more traffic are still more nightmares to be contended with.

After working in the city and spending more than my share of time trying to Navigate through the maze to the tune of honking horns, I get woozy at the thought of having to drive there. My hubby spends many hours on the road every week, 14 1/2 this Thursday alone, and has little desire to make the commute again once the weekend rolls around.

All that boils down to, we've never taken our youngers and only taken our older girls a handful of times to see the wonderful museums and incredible architecture that makes up our nations capital. Early this year we discussed what a shame that is and decided that despite the bother of it all we were going to make a trip to visit at least one weekend a month for 2010. We kicked off our commitment with a viewing of the Night at the Museum movies. Which if you've not seen them, are well worth the time.

Between the flu which consumed all of January, snow and then my marathon migraine in February, we finally made our first trip today. Despite the 2 hour and 15 minute door to door commute I am thrilled that we finally made it. Our stop for this weekend was the National Museum of American History, which is part of the Smithsonian. My parents decided to join us, too. The weather was nearly fifty degrees and sunny. What more could we ask for?

On our walk from the parking garage we took a detour through the park to see the ice skaters.

And a stop to check out the triceratops for my little paleontologists, who are eagerly looking forward to the Museum of Natural History in a few weeks.
Once we got in, the first exhibit we stopped at (because it happened to be located near the closest bathroom) was the lunch counter from the Woolworths store in Greensboro, NC that was the sight of the famous sit-in by 4 college freshman who sat down to protest the separate but equal laws in 1960. We were fortunate to hit it just at the right time to see a well done program explaining the historical significance of the event and other important moments in the fight for equality.
A stop to check out the recently restored flag that flew over Ft. McHenry. This exhibit also showcases the history of the flag and our National Anthem.
Everyone enjoyed the First Ladies exhibit, particularly their exquisite gowns. This was a favorite of the girls who could appreciate the intricacies of the detail work after their years of their own labor at the sewing machine. Of course, Elisabeth was particularly taken by the bling on display.
The science exhibit geared toward children was a nice resting spot for the boys.
And can you guess what my favorite exhibit was? Stop back Thursday if you want to see the picture Allen took of me there.
The boys were not the only one to enjoy the history of America as seen through transportation.
Elisabeth and I sat that one... but no post is complete without a picture of the princess... even if her dress is hiked up.
Everyone had a great day, learned many good things and we are all looking forward to our next trip. I hope you are enjoying a great weekend, too!



  1. I think it is great that you are making a commitment to see all that the city has to offer. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  2. Oh, how fun that must have been in spite of the drive. I avoid cities and long drives a lot too, but we usually enjoy ourselves once we've arrived and experienced things.

    I'm glad you are over the flue and the Migrains. It's time to enjoy yourselves now.

    Happy Sunday,

  3. What a great, educational trip! Good for you! I need to get there, myself!

  4. I went to HS outside of DC...I soooo miss living there. Always something fun to do.

  5. That looks like such a great time. I wish we had places like that to go to around here. We would have to travel 2 1/2 hours to Minneapolis to find some.

    Glad you took the time to go.....

  6. Hey, Kat~

    We live about 1 hour and 45 minutes away from DC. We are planning a trip to the Holocaust Museum and some of the others. We should meet up there! :> )

    Loved your pics. Everyone looks like they are having a WONDERFUL time!


  7. It looks like you had a great time at the museum! I'm glad you got a chance to go!

  8. Fun! We live about 2.5hrs away and have been discussing the same thing...I've not been there since high school. We did go the air and space museum in Dulles a couple of years ago, but we've never taken the crew into DC. We are planning a weekend trip in April. Once a month is a great idea, but I think once every couple of years is gonna be a reasonable goal for us!