The World Is Our Classroom

Friday, November 2, 2018

DC: Day 2, Pt 2--The National Postal Museum

After the unexpected pleasure of the Library of Congress we were off to another museum that is not high on most people's lists, but which I had heard was underrated--the National Postal Museum. And I agree--it was a great stop that I would recommend to any tourists. but esp. those with kids and esp. homeschool families!

Very unassuming from the outside.

Much more grand on the inside.

 Uber-hip display--the infamous pistols used in the Hamilton-Burr duel! 

As you would expect, there were lots of different kinds of letters/mail to geek out on.

 One room was all about collecting, and they had bins of stamps that guests were welcome to look through and select some to take home!  We found some awesome history in those--a stamp that looks like it is from North Korea, a Nazi stamp, National Parks stamps & more.

 There was a display on women in aviation, since so many of them started out delivering mail. Here is Amelia Earhart's flight suit. 

 Leaving the formal museum and going downstairs, it was clear this part was added much later, and this was where there were more modern, kid-friendly & interactive displays. 

 Owney, mascot of the Railway Mail Service. 

There were so many cool things about this museum I didn't even mention--the scavenger hunt for kids, the free retro postcards, the stamp collections to browse. But we only had a few hours there, because we had a date at the Capitol!

DC: Day Two, Pt 1--The Library of Congress, Cont.

Yes, the Library of Congress ended up being one of our favorite, favorite things in all of D.C. Who would have thought it!  And now I find, looking back, that there is way too much beauty to fit into one post. So skip this one if you didn't enjoy the last one--it's just more of the same. ; )  The kids and I, however, could not get enough of it. They were just as camera happy as I was!

 From the museum exhibit on WWI.

The iconic view.

Really cool rare map!

And all around us and under us was intricate beauty!

Stumbling upon a display of Alexander Hamilton papers. Letters to the Schuyler sisters--

And early editions of the Federalist papers.

Of course these displays (and others about Hamilton around the D.C. area) were because of the musical Hamilton coming to the city, and because of the musical's popularity bringing a surge of interest in all things Hamilton. But clever of the exhibit makers to draw the connections, showing how these original documents were instrumental to the lyrics of the show. 

And then, down in the basement, we felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland as we wandered what seemed like endless corridors without signage, looking for something we were told was there. . . 

The Library of Congress Children's Reading Room!

I don't know how much this room gets used, but what a delightful space!

Lovers of reading and supporters of libraries unite!

Note: there were stations down in the basement of the Library of Congress to recharge electronics!  This was very helpful, seeing as how it was first thing in the morning and our camera batteries were already running low, for the amount we had used them on this one building. : ) So while the kids were in the reading room I watched all their cameras and my phone while they charged. 

And then, all of us recharged, we headed to our next stop: The US Postal Museum!

DC: Day Two, Pt 1--The Library of Congress

Today's strategy started out with the Library of Congress, which opened sooner than other buildings. I thought we would just "pop in" to see it before heading on to other places that I thought were more worthy. I had not done any research on this building, and didn't know it would be anything all that interesting. 

I could not have been more wrong. 

Gorgeous fountains outside could have been a clue. 

Heavily ornamented exterior definitely should have been a clue. 

The first thing we saw was a little, beautifully decorated hall, with a very old and humble display for what it was holding:

The incredibly beautiful ceiling of the hall.

But our jaws dropped when we stepped out of that side hall and into the main hall. 

The ceiling, so far above.

There's so much detail the kids get lost!

The little side hall ceiling honored famous literary figures throughout history.

Other parts of the ceilings were dedicated to themes of wisdom, learning, nature, and values the building's artisans must have thought represented the best of what defined and unified Americans. 

There was no place in the building that was unadorned, elegant, amazing. 

The Library has changing museum exhibits--this one on baseball!

And the Library contains Thomas Jefferson's library!

We never imagined how gorgeous a government building could be, and I am so glad I made that little "stop by"--that turned into hours. 

Note: of any place we visited in D.C. the people here were by far the nicest. The docents are all volunteers, and I'm guessing retired professionals. They were very helpful, very professional, and they clearly wanted to be there. All in all, this was one of our favorite things in all of D.C.