Trip Report #5- The final installment

February 29, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally ready to post the last report on my trip to DC. At the beginning of February, very soon after starting this blog, I took a little break to meet my brother and SIL in DC. I wrote about motorcades, our visit to the International Spy Museum (a surprising “must see” in DC), general travel “fun”, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (including learning about the Spirit of Texas).

What I haven’t written about so far is the exhibit that I least expected to see at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The signs outside with pictures of glittery Ruby Red Slippers should have been a clue that something unusual was going on.  However, I was oblivious until a volunteer told us about a special exhibit underway.

The exhibit is titled “Treasures of American History”. Apparently the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is currently closed for renovations. During the renovations, an eclectic collection of items from throughout our country’s history have been brought to the Air and Space Museum to be displayed. The exhibit includes the desk where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Kermit the frog!, Dorothy’s Red Slippers, a collection of hats (including a cheesehead hat with a Clinton/Gore ’96 bumper sticker on the side), and countless other objects.

As we were leaving the exhibit, a museum employee was at the door. My brother and I walked out first and she asked what our favorite part of the exhibit was. I had a hard time answering and told her that it was difficult for me to pick just one. My brother said that he liked seeing Thomas Jefferson’s desk but that his favorite was Andrew Jackson’s uniform- because he hadn’t realized how short he was! I was still having a hard time deciding, but was about to say that a dress of Mary Todd Lincoln’s was my favorite when my sister-in-law walked out. The docent asked her what her favorite part of the exhibit was and, without any hesitation, she selected George Washington’s uniform. I then “claimed” the dress as my favorite since I hadn’t named one yet. I can’t help but wonder what the docent thought about our answers. To people who don’t know us, it probably seemed a bit strange that two of the three picked military uniforms out of the 100s of objects in the exhibit. Little do they know that our group was one civilian (me), an Army officer and her spouse!  My SIL was also by far the quickest to provide an answer to the question.

After the Smithsonian we went back to the hotel briefly and then my brother and SIL drove me to Union Station. We hit a little bit of traffic, but not too bad, and stopped for gas. By the time we parked and found out my gate number I had just enough time to buy a sandwich for the train home. The goodbye was a little bit rushed- I really didn’t want to miss my train. I guess that’s better than a prolonged goodbye though. It was great to spend some time with my brother and SIL just enjoying each other’s company. There wasn’t a family event going on, no one was sick, and other than my return train there were no specific plans or appointments. I miss having them on the same continent and can’t wait until they are back in the US.


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