Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jeff's New Museum Expeditions: National Museum of American History

Okay, so I realized that I spend way too much time alone and need to get a life besides running, the gym, and work. I appreciate every minute I spend with friends, running, et al, but want to get into more varied activities in the worst way. So I decided to hit the National Museum of American History today. I initially planned to run home from there, about 12-13 miles, but caught a cold yesterday and this morning so decided to just go to the museum and work out later.

This was one of the best museums I have ever been to. Many historical journeys were taken, I saw exhibits on transportation advances, immigrant contribution to life and industry, ancient American musical instruments, and the Lincoln Exhibit. Lincoln was a transformational, legendary figure who was more than deserving of this exhibit. There were lots of objects from his life, the overall collection is something that must be seen.

The very best thing about the museum was the original flag that flew over Fort McHenry when the British tried to take over Baltimore during the War of 1812. Yes, that flag. Is in the museum and it was jaw-dropping to see. The flag that was flying when Fort McHenry was being defended, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner. I'm going to go back just to see the flag again.

There are other things I want to see that I will see on my second visit. The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise is something I really want to see. I didn't see the Invention at Play exhibit this time so I will next time.

After I finish viewing this museum, the Museum of Natural History is next, I have been to this but it was nine years ago. Then it's the National Museum of the American Indian. All these great places, free of charge, and until now I have been one of the DCites who shrugs at them or doesn't go to a lot of them for whatever reason. I had only been to the Botanical Gardens, Sculpture Garden, most monuments, and the small art Gallery at the Canadian Embassy since moving here in April 2006.

This not visiting many of these fine attractions stops right now. This will get me involved in different things outside of my normal pattern, get me introduced to new experiences, and most of these things are FREE. I do not want to repeat what happened to me in Colorado: assume I'll live there forever and not go to a place like Rocky Mountain National Park in four years, figuring I'll be there until I'm 80 so I have tons of time to go. I make no predictions as to where I'll be in a few years, but I don't want to find myself leaving DC for somewhere else in 2013 or whatever not having visited all of the Smithsonian and other museums. So if you want to go to some of these places, holler.


Bill-DC said...

I'm headed there Friday to meet Dadman during lunch although I'll probably get there a couple hours early and shoot pics and get lost like I always do there.

maryjanejeff said...

Please tell Dadman I say hello, especially since I'm on hiatus from Big Soccer sans the occasional check on the Running thread in the Other Sports Forum. I may go back Sat or Sun to catch the new exhibit and what I missed today. Especially if I don't go skiing.

Smithsonian metro station, Mall exit, stroll north across the mall, left on the first street, bingo! Now if you get lost inside, don't feel bad, I did too.

Bill-DC said...

I'm a native, I'm not supposed to get lost...but I do!

Especially driving in the city, oh brother.

FoggyDew said...

Did you see the all Stradivarius string quartet? One of my favorite exhibits at the AHM (my post about my visit:

Might I also recommend the National Portrait Gallery. I went just around New Years and it was pretty impressive.

maryjanejeff said...

I didn't get to see the Axelrod Quarter in as much detail as I would have liked. I will correct that next visit. There were tons of people sitting around the Greensboro counter, it looked like they were awaiting a performance and I didn't want to cut in front of everyone so I only caught details of it. That will get my priority on the next visit.

I keep meaning to get to the Portrait Gallery too - I hope Colbert's is still there.

Bill, I once dropped friends off in the Adams Morgan area. They gave me PERFECT directions on how to get onto GW Parkway, didn't matter. I still spent a half hour driving around aimlessly. I know the feeling, and avoid driving in DC at all costs, or even Arlington.

zandria said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I'd like to go back one day when I'm by myself...even though it's nice to go with other people, I always feel like I can't linger as long as I might like to in front of one particular thing. It would be a nice place to spend a random few hours! :)

maryjanejeff said...

I hear you about the lingering thing. You go with seven people, they want to see seven different things. Then you lose a half hour trying to corral everyone back together. I may do a museum / run home combo on Sunday since it's supposed to be in the mid 40s and this year I have zero interest in the Super Bowl so no need to spend time getting ready for that.