Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Two in DC: The Museum of American History

Our last stop on our second day was the National Museum of American History, and it was both Grant's and my favorite place we went during our trip.  And considering that about a third of the museum was closed off for renovations, I think that's pretty impressive.  There is just a whole bunch of neat stuff in there, man!

One of the most noted displays is that of the original Star Spangled Banner.  Like, the one that was flying when the dude wrote the poem that became the song that is our national anthem.  I was really surprised how emotional that was for me--I got a little misty-eyed looking at it.  We couldn't take pictures inside the display area, but a kindly stranger snapped our second actual family portrait outside it so we could remember the moment.

There is just a bunch of really, really, really neat stuff in this museum.  When they say "American History" they mean actual American History.  They didn't just have a sword from the Revolutionary War, they had George Washington's actual sword from when he was a general in it.  They didn't just have stuff from soldiers in the Civil War, they had the table and chairs Lee and Grant used when they signed the treaty that ended it.  It blew us away.

They also had some neat but less significant things.  Things like the original Muppet puppets.

The hat Michael Jackson wore in one of his videos.

A quartet of Stradivarius instruments.

When I was in junior high, the Smithsonian Institute brought a big exhibit of items to Kansas City and I was able to go see them on a school trip, and I actually saw this next item there for the first time.  But it was like 1994 and the camera I owned just couldn't capture any light to prove that I'd seen it, so when I saw them here, I was kinda excited because I'd just purchased a pretty good camera that had been taking amazing pictures in low light conditions our whole trip.  Behold: the Ruby Slippers Judy Garland wore while filming The Wizard of Oz.

And since I'm from Kansas and all, I had to snap a picture of the dang buffalo.

This museum also had plenty of interactive pieces to the different exhibits, which means that Kendra had stuff to do besides look at display cases.

She also particularly enjoyed the giant Christmas tree on display in the main foyer--she was pretty excited every time she saw a Christmas tree, actually, so we let her finally get a closer look at one instead of rushing her towards something else.

AND!  Stairs!  Ohboyohboy!

"My Daddy is the BEST.  He takes me up and down escalators over and over again!"

She also noticed something that she really wanted to ride...

And she was pretty disappointed when we explained that this one is just to look at.  But we told her that there is a place where you can ride on elephants just like that one, and we'll totally take her there when she's bigger (and old enough to remember it).

We meandered through a re-creation of one of the El stops in the downtown loop and an old car from one of the trains, so we had to pay homage to the city where we started our family.

They had really interesting exhibits about the American Presidents and First Ladies, I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed those.  Apparently, the china is a really, really big deal in the White House (but since I already use Correlle and plan to for the rest of my life, I guess I just don't get it).  Here's a sample of Mrs. Lincoln's setting that was used for state dinners and things.

Elliot took the whole visit in stride, as per usual.

It's just really hard work being that darn cute.

And in the moments when he wasn't doing so well with his situation, Kendra always stopped what she was doing and entertained him.

It's unbelievable how big of a help stuff like this is.  Now that we're out of the crazy newborn phase, I often feel like having two kids is actually easier than one because they take care of each other in ways I didn't expect at all.  Elliot never cries very long when his sister is around because she always rushes to him to help him or play with him and it always calms him down.

While we were in the museum, it finally stopped raining and I just happened to walk past one of the few huge glass walls in the place that gave a perfect view of a pretty fantastic rainbow.

I'm not sure if you can tell in this picture, but it was actually a double rainbow, and while it was nothing worth crying over, I thought that it was pretty.

And so concludes our second day in our nation's capital.  And we had so much dang fun the first two days, we decided to stay an extra night and get another day's fun in!


Danielle said...

Must comment on that picture and video of Kendra smooshing Elliot's face... ha! Love it. Clearly they love and adore each other.

Jacqueline said...

She was born to be a big sister. I love having multiple kids. They really really do make it easier than one. Love it.