We were up and out the door early, wanting to get 3 huge visits in today. Our first was to the Natural History Smithsonian on the mall. It was perfect. We could have spent our whole two weeks just there! From one exhibit to the next, we just kept saying to each other, “look at this”, “read this” “take a pic of this”.
We were in the exhibit “Beyond Bollywood, Indian Americans shape the Nation” when we turned around and there was Mohini Bhardwaj Barry featured on the wall, Eliza’s former gymnastic coach from home! She’s a silver medalist from the 1984 Olympics and she had mentioned that the Smithsonian had asked to borrow her medal, but we didn’t hold out much hope of ever finding it in the huge museum. We found it! So exciting to see her as part of such an excellent exhibit.
After an expensive, lackluster lunch in the museum, we headed to the Ford Theatre nearby. President Lincoln was shot here, and the new museum underground tells the story of what he did that day, as well as the whole day of John Wilkes Booth, his assassin. Then you walk across the street to the Petersen house where Lincoln was carried and then died. It’s a little uncomfortable to be looking at the actual spot where he died, I’m not sure why I thought the kids should see it. How does that help them understand our history? The house itself has been turned into a museum and gift shop, with the best part for me being the 2 story stack of books. These are all the books that have been written about Lincoln and the sign at the foot of it says that people are still writing about him and they will continue to add books. Dan started to reach for a book, and I was afraid the whole thing would fall.
Our last major stop was the National Archives – to see the Declaration of Independence, the actual signed one, the Bill of Rights and other historical documents. We bought tickets online so we could get right in, but we had to wait in line with everyone else and go through security. You aren’t allowed to take pictures inside and all the lighting is dim anyway. For years they had the Declaration at the Library of Congress in the sun, so it is very damaged. Then they tried to make a copy of it by somehow making an imprint, and it pulled more of the original ink off of it. Now they have it in a huge glass case, with temperature and light control. I think what it says is more important than the old document, but it was still fun to see. The movie about it wasn’t working, and the museum underground was boring, so we headed to the metro.
Another GREAT day in D.C.!