July 3, 2018
While we were in Washington D.C., we visited a couple of the 19 museums under the direction of the Smithsonian Museums. We knew it could easily take a couple of weeks to visit all of them, let alone suffer from “placard fatigue”. To prevent our eyes from crossing and popping out of our heads, we spent two afternoons in only the American History Museum and the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.
My feelings on these museums were mixed. I was delighted that they were all free admission to enter. Fees quickly add up when a family desires to see things. Here, if a family can get there, they can experience a tremendous amount of history and culture with no additional cost. They also tried to present the items in an interactive method to catch the attention of even the younger visitors.
However, I envisioned the museums to be quite different from what they actually were. I expected the items on display were going to all be original, no reproductions. They filled in with reproductions to complete a topical exhibit. I left questioning which items were real. I particularly thought I’d see a culmination of artifacts of significant national historical events. Instead, they felt like any other museum we have toured.
Thinking in particular of the American History Museum, they divided exhibits up into themes like technology, presidents, money, etc. Joel felt like his college dorm room could have been on display. Sure, that was fun to see items that came about within our generation, but we missed the amazement. Somehow I feel something significant was missed since my first recollections of the museum was the Batmobile and the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.
Regardless, our family did enjoy the time spent. Thankfully the boys said the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was the highlight of the day, not some kind of museum piece from our influence from television or computers.
Until we meet again,