Monday, December 22, 2008

A Dose Of American History

Today, Shira, her Mom and our friend Ron, all hit the American History Museum. While the museum was good, I have to say, I wasn't totally impressed. It felt more like a collection of cool - and random - stuff, rather than a cohesive storytelling experience.

There could be a number of reasons for this:

  • The museum is just finishing years of renovations and a good portion of it isn't open. The result is that many of the exhibits are crammed into smaller spaces than usual and have been truncated.
  • This is the Smithsonian I know the best - so perhaps the Wow factor has just been warn down a little?
  • The lobby where we first arrived and got oriented was filled with random items - from a dental chair used earlier this century to an original C3P0 costume. Cool stuff, but not really tied together in a strong way.
  • We just came off a trip to the Newsuem - so perhaps they set the bar so high, the Smithsonian couldn't top it?

Don't get me wrong - the museum was good. It's just I expect great things when I walk into a Smithsonian and I didn't feel like I was blown away.

I did take an hour'ish long guided tour, and that helped. Though, that was more useful prep for my next trip to the musuem, rather than this trip.

Here are a few photos from our visit...

Here's Ron, the CPA, raging against the IRS. Get it all out Ron, you'll feel better if you do:

See, this is what I mean. In one room I found a neat exhibit on Jewish immigrants (here's a prayer book from the 1800's). In another a funny portrait of Stephen Colbert. Yes, they get points for diversity..but still...

Every history museum needs at least one flamethrower. Here's the Smithsonian's. It's from their WWII exhibit. The war exhibit was gigantic, and was worthy of a multi hour trip all its own.

See that grin on Shira's face? That's because she was beating the system. After checking out a handful of exhibits, she retired to the lobby where she watched TV yanked from our TiVo on her Archos. She had hours of TV available to her, there was no rush from her perspective.

Us on the way out of the museum. Tired, and with our brains bursting with new information. Did I mention it was a bit chilly outside?

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