The Smithsonian National American History Museum houses a wealth of treasures. From boats to railroad engines, dresses of the first ladies, to the American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key, there is bound to be something here of interest to almost everyone.
Most of the displays are dimly lit, or in areas where photographs were prohibited such as the protected American flag, but here is just a little sampling of museum exhibits. I suspect that the Monticello exhibit, as well as the lunch counter from the Woolworths in Greenboro, NC will be moved to the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is under construction nearby.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant, from the original 1955 Disneyland, California ride
This is my favorite way to learn history -- to get hooked in by being shown some moment of it. I guess that's why people used to read encyclopedias for fun & why the internet is so popular.
The old machinery is so beautifully made -- crafted of iron, but made to look good as well. Actually, things that aren't all that old used to be hunkier as well, as witness the lunch counter. (& I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't have told you that Greensboro was the site of the first sit-in)
Gosh, seeing that dinky little boat, then reading how it was used sets up a scary movie in the head.
Great stuff. I love museums & you did a great job of showing this one.
Oh, thank you, bixa. Your positive and warm comments are much appreciated. Honestly, while I think this museum houses a wonderful collection of Americana, I would not have selected much of what is there to represent the America I know. I guess that's fodder for a different thread.
The "Jefferson's Monticello" exhibition looks interesting. It is one of the great ironies in American history that the enlightened man who wrote "All men are created equal" owned an enormous slave estate.
It is a fabulous exhibition, nycgirl. I seem to remember it being funded by a foundation, so the displays were a lot more detailed than others at the museum. I took a few pictures in the hall, but they just didn't turn out very well.
The photos below show the beginning construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is supposed to open in 2015. I would imagine many of the American History Museum exhibits, such as Monticello, will be moved there.
Not to my knowledge, bixa. I'm glad to see construction underway.
Since my trip to the museum I've realized that much of what I had seen years ago is either gone from display or is displayed in a very different way. One such exhibit, Julia Child's kitchen, was apparently reopened just in time for her one hundredth birthday celebration.
I am kind of obliged to make a 'French' comment about this, France being one of the countries with no ethnic statistics, as per law. (However, there have been all sorts of 'colonial' or 'African and Oceanic' museums of questionable intent for hundreds of years -- but these are always geographic rather than ethnic.)
While it is very important to cover all aspects of history, why are people continually separated into their ethnic origins? In France, nobody puts Empress Josephine or author Alexandre Dumas into the 'black' section of French history.
Will President Obama be relegated to the African American museum?
Like many multi-cultural Americans, President Obama's legacy will belong in both museums, of course.
Museums that recognize African Americans, Native Americans, Jewish Americans, women, space travelers, great artists, etc, are not meant to set those groups aside into marginalized members of American society, but rather to recognize the uniqueness that make these citizens Americans. To celebrate, honor, and to mourn their legacies and their/our history, as well as to serve as reminders of our often painful past.
I want my children and grandchildren, who have no personal experience with segregation, not to mention slavery, to learn from the past history of this country. I want my grandchildren to learn Native American history and to appreciate what it means (for two of them) to have Native American ancestors. I want the other three, who live in an area of the country where there is tremendous prejudice, to lean to appreciate the cultural diversity of their neighbors. Museums can serve as educational vehicles towards enlightenment.