Washington Day 2

Since it was Sunday I set out to Eastern Market.  They have the usual things – soap, fresh produce, dips, and random crap.  I tried some pickles – even the full sour ones are not that sharp.

Note Wairarapa teatowel

I walked back to the Capitol.

Looks ParisianSchmancy. To go on a tour you have to book ahead.

Outside the National Archives of all places!

 The National Archives are worth visiting – free, and have some good exhibits.  You have to go through security and it wouldn’t be worth going in the busy season.  But in the off season it was great!  You can see the actual Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.  The guards have revolvers so no vandalising!

The White House recorder that captured Nixon's downfall

They have a decent exhibit on the archives themselves, a video intro that lays it on with a trowel (These documents define who we are!) and some changing exhibits.  When I went it was about the government’s role in food.  They had a scone recipe from Queen Elizabeth to one of the presidents and Lyndon Johnson’s barbeque apron.  Strangest was the photo of 3 men sitting at a table, captioned simply, ‘Digestion experiment’.

From there it was off to the Museum of American History.  It’s huge, and full of people.  The main exhibit is the remains of the flag flown at Ft McHenry.  No wonder they could see it from the harbour – it’s huge!  Here they display it in a darkened shrine with the words of the national anthem above it, and some seats so that you can gaze in wonder.

When I went a lot of the museum was shut for renovation.  What they did have was quite good.


They have reconstructed the whole thing – including the ultra-efficient shadow boards.  There is a 90min documentary playing on a loop and when I went in that voice made me feel very deeply contented and I wanted to go to sleep.  Ancient connections, formed in infanthood, I’m sure.

The section on transport is very good and reasonably new.  It includes social and political implications of cars through the 20th century.

The first car to drive across the US. Note googles on the dog.

They also had a panel about some women that drove across the US to campaign for women’s suffrage, taking their cat, Saxon.  This is awesome for 2 reasons:
1. A protest drive is far easier than a protest march
2. Saxon is a wonderful name for a cat.
Next was a section about how one house changed throuh several centuries.  It was quite good for showing children how experts determine the age of an object – maker’s marks, decoration, material etc – the how of history.

View of the WW2 parlour

Next was a section on immigration – this display was a bit older.

Slave tags

Then they had a collection of random crap from 1939.

Dorothy's shoes

Then some random crap.

The original Muppets

They also had Farrah Fawcett’s swimsuit and Michael Jackson’s hat.  Next was the instrument collection.


Then they had a large exhibition about the Presidency.

Washington's map case

Clinton's budget


Campaign breadboard

The football! This has the nuclear codes in it.

Nixon introduced this uniform for the Secret Service to add some European-style pomp. They abandoned it after he left.

Mrs Coolidge's evening gown

Presidential pyjamas - not quite the equivalent of Mao's undies, but almost.

One of the cabinets Nixon's men broke in to

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S HAT!!!!! Surprisingly not tall.

A collection of hair locks from presidents, including Washington.

Then came the main exhibit – war.

Revolutionary War redcoat

Washington's camp set

Confederate uniform

Union uniform

Pieces of the Twin Towers

2003 Iraq War equipment

I left just before they shut.


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