The Smithsonian museums were fabulous. You need a week (ten days for us) to take in them all. There is so much to see. We went to the American History, Natural History, and the Air and Space Museums.
We also saw the Holocaust Museum as well, though we did not stay there long. It was later in the day and there was a humongous load of children there. In fact, there were children everywhere.
I think the east coast schools decided to take field trips to D.C. the first week of June. That may also explain the global disrespect I spoke about in the earlier blogs. The kids weren’t a problem; there were just a lot of them.
There were some things we wanted to see like Dorothy’s slippers and the original flag from which the Star Spangled Banner was written. The Hope Diamond was also a must see, which we saw. Then there was Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, the one he wore the night he was shot, they said.
There were all kinds of things in the American History Museum. Lucia spent a lot of time in Julia Child’s original kitchen, which was moved to the museum. I saw Ray Charles’ sequined jacket, which was cool. There were thousands of memorabilia like that.
One of the ironic moments was a case dedicated to Muhammad Ali, which they put beside a case for the bigoted Archie Bunker and his wife Edith from the All in the Family ’70s TV show. I’m not sure anyone got the irony but it was humorous to me. We were there just a few days after Ali’s passing so he was on people’s minds. They’re going to give him his own room in a year or two.
The air-and-space was nice but the children were not as interested in that. They got to see Amelia Earhart’s plane, which was nice. I think there was so much to see and it was a tiring process that to take it all in required more stamina than any of us had.
If you stayed two weeks and went into the city every other day, you could probably absorb and enjoy it.
One of my highlights was talking to a security guard. She was an older lady, who had been at the museum since the Nixon administration, though she was vague on that. She said she had seen a lot of presidents and other public figures.
She said the president had a parking spaces at all the museums, and I’d never know where they were. He comes in after hours, but if he decided to come in during the day, they would run everyone out.
She said it’s not unusual for a famous person to pay to have a private party in one of the museums, or if they just wanted to see it, they could make a donation and have the museum of their choice all their own.
On one of the days we were there, the security came running through ordering everyone out. It was around 5PM. I think there was a famous person coming through. There were no heightened security measures. It all seemed normal except she was yelling pretty loud, asking us to leave.
The guard I was talking to did say the Obama girls like to come in during the day while the crowds were there. They put on sunglasses and come in with a host of security. She went on to say that the girls try to have some kind of normal life, which is impossible to do. Being with the crowd helps, though only a little bit. I cannot imagine what it’s like to be them. That has to be a hard life.
I hope to go back some day. I think next time, D.C. will have to be the only place we go. So much to take in.