Thursday, May 31, 2012

Smithsonian, Air & Space and National museum of American History

We have heard about the Smithsonian for years and years but had no idea of what it really was.  Scattered around Washington DC, The National Mall area are numerous buildings housing various museums each one unique in its own way. (And all free!)

We spent most of one day in the Air and Space Museum where there is an unbelievable collection to view and learn from.  In no particular order is the plane that Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic (one way) and also flew nonstop across the United States.

A view of another bay in the museum with planes from the early aviation days.

Military aircraft from all wars.

And space ships and rockets from around the world.

And one from out of this world is this test lunar lander identical to the one that went to the moon.

Then it was off the the National Museum of American History for about a day and a half.  The displays here need several days to view and understand.  There are just so many.  This is the First Ladies showing more that two dozen gowns, including those worn by Michelle Obama, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan and Jacqueline Kennedy. 

Not only the gowns are shown but the china and serving pieces from numerous Presidents.

Need to go back and remember the Berlin Wall?  Well there are several pieces of it here in the Museum including the history behind it.

Machinery from horse powered to steam to electrical to hydraulic for just about every type of machinery developed by man.

In 1861 all males were required to fill out a draft registration card and it was put into this wheel.  It was the first military draft wheel used here in our Country and continued in use for years.

A sad part of our history was the Greensboro Lunch Counter Student Sit-in in 1960 that was another turning point for Civil Rights.  This is the original lunch counter from Greensboro NC

For our daughter, Deanna, on display are the original Ruby Slippers from the 1939 production of the Wizard of Oz.

And finally but not to be outdone for us older folk, on the left is the well used chair of Archie Bunker.

We hope that all our readers will find a way to visit the DC area and enjoy the Smithsonian as much as we did. But be sure you have comfortable walking shoes--we about wore ours' out!  More to follow.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Washington Monuments to Lincoln, Washington, Grant and Jefferson

We never saw it all but we sure tried.  Close to three weeks camping at Greenbelt National Park and taking the 9:30 train most days from near there to DC and then getting back between 5 and 7 in the evening.  Lots of walking rather than transfer trains as it was all interesting to see.
We started this day out taking the train to Arlington National cemetery (pictures later, maybe) and then walking across the river to DC and the Lincoln Memorial.  Another warm and sunny day with lots and lots of people visiting here.

Finally got a clear shot without people in the picture but when you turned around and looked toward the Washington Monument across the reflecting pond there was a big problem.  The pond was drained and under repair so we will have to go back another year and see it in all it's glory. 

No matter where you went in this town you could look around and find the Washington Monument.  From a distance it was the domineering point on the horizon.

A little closer with the lake near.

And finally standing under it, but foiled again as it was still closed during repairs from the last earth quake.  But still a heart warming sight (and we didn't have to climb all those stairs!).

Closer to the Capital (in the distance) is the Grant Memorial with Grant and his horse standing in the middle.

But the most impressive part of this monument are the details shown below.  Hard to explain so you need to go, sit and study it all.

And finally for this day is the Jefferson Memorial.  From a distance across the lake it looks so peaceful...

until you get closer and see the mass of people.  But look close and you can see the big guy standing in the middle.

Finally found a side with good lighting so could get a better picture of him.

To be continued...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Washington D C Capital & Library of Congress

Last fall when we hit Maine to see the fall colors we made a hard right turn and headed south to winter in warm Florida.  On the way south we wanted to spend some time in the DC area to see the sights.  Because of the cold weather we passed this area with the plan to come back in the spring; well here we are.

We are dry camping at Greenbelt National Park for only $8.00 a dayThe first day we got off the train at Union Station and headed to our National Capitol building. 

The only problem was there were lots and lots of people there before us; a look into the visitors center found it full of lines of people.

Thanks to friends who told us how to back door the Capital Jackie had contacted our Senators office and made arrangements to get a private tour.  We had a 2:00 appointment at the Senators office and after a short tour of the Senate office building it was off to the basement where we boarded the Senators train to the back door of the Capital.

Before we went to the Senators we had some time to tour the outside of the building on a very cloudy day.

The trees are just about in full bloom with spring foliage.  A good shot of the dome from the outside.

And a view looking straight up at the beautiful ceiling.  We took lots and lots of interior pictures but decided to just share a few of each area we visited.

Across the street from the Capital is another star of this town, the Library of Congress. 

The 3 statues out front are unbelievable but you will have to come and see or we can post the pictures another day.  A little nudity.

But the inside is spectacular, hard to describe so we will just share some pictures.

We found the back rooms and toured in areas that most tourists never get to.  Each room is just another office for ???  How would you like to walk the beauties of these halls every day?

We have now been here two weeks touring the City and plan to go back in the morning for another few days and then it's off to Pennsylvania, we think.  (Washington, PA, to be exact:  to do some family research)

To be continued...