It was late when we landed so all we did Wednesday was check in to the hotel and go to sleep. We had planned a full day for Thursday. The hotel (Hyatt Regency, Crystal City) provided a shuttle to the Metro station. After a slight delay as we figured out what sort of train ticket to buy (we settled on all-day passes), we boarded the train for the Mall.
First stop was the U. S. History Museum at the Smithsonian. We saw one of the original Kermit the Frog puppets,
Archie Bunker's chair and Bob Dylan's jacket,
a 1980s (I think) computer,
Dorothy's ruby slippers,
and a bunch more stuff. A favorite area was that containing Presidential and First Lady memorabilia. We enjoyed looking at the gowns of the First Ladies as well as the Presidential china. We noticed that the official china has gotten more nationalistic in theme in modern times, probably coinciding with the string of 20th-century wars in which the U.S. has been involved. We saw the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence (not a full-size desk but more of a writing easel) and so many other items that I can't begin to remember them all. I should have taken more pictures.
Probably the highlight of this tour was seeing the original Star-Spangled Banner, the one that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write what would become our national anthem. It is huge, kept in a closed case in a darkened room where pictures are not allowed. Yes, I cried.
From U.S. History we went to the building known as "The Castle." It houses the Smithsonian administrative offices and serves as a repository of information/memorabilia about how the Smithsonian came to be. There is also an exhibition room that I think changes content periodically; currently, it houses a collection of Civil War photography, which we found very interesting. We had lunch at the Castle cafe and nearly had a heart attack when our bill (for things like sandwiches, salads, and chips) came to over $60 for four people. Lesson learned the hard way (as so many of them are).
Our third stop for the day was the National Gallery of Art (see previous post). Evan liked this atrium room. The focal point was the French fountain in the middle of the room, Cherubs Playing with a Lyre. I know that is what it was called because Evan took time to take notes about it in his journal. :-)
I am so glad I happened to walk by Renoir's Girl with a Watering Can. I didn't know it was in this museum, but it is one of my favorite all-time paintings. My mother had a print of it when I was a little girl and she used to tell me I was the girl in the painting. I have used it for my profile pic in the past here and on Facebook. Maybe some day I will have a reproduction hanging in my house.
Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns from Cheryl on Vimeo.
I will write about Friday in the next post.