Friday, November 23, 2018

DC: Day Three, Pt 3--Admiring Architecture

As we walked through the Mall, we had to pause to admire one building in particular--the currently abandoned Arts and Industries Building, the second oldest Smithsonian.

 Definitely the most beautiful architecture on the Mall. 

Trying to see into the interior--it is clear this space is in transition, and the Smithsonian system is not quite sure how to use it, but it was also clear the building itself is being maintained & saved for when they do know. That makes me so glad--not like amazing buildings like this all over the U.S. that have fallen into disrepair because no one has a current use/vision/money for them. (Now that I think about it, that's the story of Mt. Vernon I shared earlier--wonderful buildings around the States that current generations don't value, so they don't bother to preserve them for future generations.) I would hope they would at least clean it up and make it available for rental--I can see fabulous parties in this space!

(Update: It looks like that is what they currently use it for! Well, if you meet their requirements for what is appropriate use--alas, no Steampunk weddings.)

The detail of this building reminded me of the Library of Congress. Oh, I wish we could have seen the inside!

So Steampunky!

 It lies catty-corner to the Smithsonian "Castle," another beautiful building that I'm sorry visitors can't explore to their hearts' content. 

 I'm so glad they are maintaining the gardens--they were peaceful spaces that enhance the Mall, even with the building itself closed. (Here some thoughtful tourists offered to take a photo of all of us--nice to have a pic with the kids, even if I look bedraggled from the heat--and that earlier monuments marathon!)

Writing this post re-awoke my curiosity about this building and led to this insightful article. And this photo:

From its building, in 1880.  Second from left--Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the building committee members. 

From there we moved next door to the architecture and gardens of the Castle, oldest of the Smithsonian buildings.

Way too many pretty corners not to take advantage of in photo shoots. : )

Thursday, November 22, 2018

DC: Day Three, Pt 2--The Capitol, again. The Mall, again.

So, the night before, I had asked the kids what they most wanted to do or see on our last day. I had a list of awesome things we had not yet done, and suggested we could also return to any place that we had not gotten enough of. In that last vein, I tried to get them to say they wanted to go back to the Air & Space museum, so everyone could experience that hands-on learning room. Instead, they all wanted to go back to the Capitol building, and try to see some lawmakers at work. 

So, after the monuments marathon, we headed over to the office of our Congressman, Jimmy Panetta, to score passes. And while I was there I demonstrated my civic duty of urging him (via his aide) to support the upcoming Parental Rights bill. 

Another gorgeous day at the Capitol. 

The artistry all over the city amazes me.

I already explained how our walk around the monuments took us way longer than expected. So by the time we got our passes and walked over to the Capitol, around 1:00, unfortunately the House had just ended for the day. So we just visited the empty chambers (which was still cool, esp. because we had a very friendly guard explain things in the room). Later I saw on the news about the shenanigans in the House over the confirmation of Kavanaugh, and was kinda glad we had missed it! A historical moment, to be sure, but not in a good way--I'm glad my kids didn't have that example of adults behaving badly as their one impression of our government at work. : (  (I'm not taking sides on the issues at stake in the confirmation, but on how the entire process broke down that day, and there was a distinct lack of respect by the lawmakers for one another or the rules of conduct.)

So after the Capitol, it was back to the Mall, where we slowly worked our way from one end to the other, seeing last sights on the way.

Detour through the U.S. Botanic Garden


We only meant to walk through quickly, on our way to other things, but we enjoyed ourselves so much we lingered. 

I did not choose to spend time at the exhibits in the American Indian museum, only because I felt we had seen excellent exhibits already all over the country on all things American Indian. But I loved the architecture of the building.

And we stopped in for a snack--authentic Plains Indians fry bread!

Tasted a bit like a big soft cracker. Fun to eat something I've read about in books. : )

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

DC: Day Three, Pt 1--Monuments & Memorials, Cont.

Hours into our walk around the memorials we still had a long way to go. . .

The one I had most anticipated.


Quiet and moving geek out.

Smiley read the whole thing aloud.

Abe & me. 

On to the Vietnam memorial. 

Of course we needed to look up a family member--so we found two men who had our family's last name. Must be distant relations--or at least they are today. 

Wreath from some respectful Vietnamese group. Humbling. 

Found the name.

Making rubbings.

On to the WWII memorial--great to see after our studies this past year, and visiting the WWII museum in New Orleans.

One of my favorite stories in recent history was when the government was "shut down" and a group of WWII veterans stormed their memorial. Awesome. A truly American response to a shameful political ploy.