Friday 24th June 2011
We have just about walked our legs off over the last week!
On Sunday we walked the National Mall and spent some time in the Museum of Natural History. This has some excellent displays, and I particularly enjoyed the hall of Human Origins.
On Monday we visited the Air & Space Museum, where we saw several of the lunar modules, including the Apollo II command module which carried Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to the moon in 1969. The landing module looked like something Primary school kids might have made using cereal packets and egg boxes! We also saw some early aeroplanes,including the first Wright brothers aeroplane and the Spirit of St Louis in which Lindbergh made the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris.
Apollo II command module Columbia The Spirit of St Louis
Later we visited the World War II memorial, the Korean War memorial and the Vietnam War memorial, all of which were very moving. We also visited the Lincoln Memorial, but as is usual with our timing, the reflecting pool which usually stretches from here to the Washington Monument was being redug and was actually a muddy mess rather than a tranquil pool! We could see the White House from the Washington Monument and decided our legs wouldn't take us any closer!
The World War II Memorial The Korean War Memorial
The Vietnam War Memorial The Lincoln Memorial
View from the Lincoln Memorial steps towards the Capitol The White House
We had found the Air & Space Museum so interesting that on Tuesday we took a bus out to Dulles airport where we picked up the shuttlebus to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which houses the rest of the collection plus all the big exhibits in huge hangars. Here again we took the free tour and learnt some interesting facts from a very knowledgeable ex-WWII pilot.
Space shuttle Enterprise
On Wednesday we visited the Museum of American History, where they have an interesting display on the history of pop-up books as well as Judy Garland's ruby slippers in the Treasures of Popular Culture display, as well as the expected stuff about their history including independence from us Brits and all the Presidents and their wives. The section on African American history was very interesting and well-presented, documenting the treatment of African Americans from the days of slavery and how they have been portrayed in the media. This section is soon to be moved to a Museum of African American History & Culture, currently being built in the National Mall.
Ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz
On Thursday we saw money being printed at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing - a visit kindly arranged for us by a member of the yacht club - and then visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum. This was a moving experience, with a wealth of background information about the oppression of Jews before WW2 and the prevailing conditions in Germany that allowed Hitler to rise to power, as well as the consequences of this for millions of Jews.
Today we decided to give museums and monuments a miss and took the subway to look at some shops at Dupont Circle and Pentagon City. The only things we bought were a guidebook for New York and a top-up card for our US mobile phone!
This evening Martin & Trudy joined us at the yacht club for dinner, bringing with them the replacement inverter which had arrived earlier in the day.