Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break in DC: Day Two

We started our second day in DC with an early morning wakeup call and a stop at Starbucks for some scones and coffee (don't you just love vacation?). Then we took a quick subway trip into the city, and we got to work seeing the museums!

First up - the Newseum! Thank you SO much to those of you who recommended that we check out this museum. It was all about journalism and recording history through the media, and it was ah-mazing. It was SO worth the entrance fee, and I could have spent two days there! Some of the highlights...

The Berlin exhibit...

Berlin Wall

West Berlin side

East Berlin side

East Berlin guard tower

The FBI exhibit...

Original "most wanted" list

electric chair!

Unabomber's cabin

The Hurricane Katrina exhibit...

Secret Service guys - a museum employee told us they were "just checking the place out." They wouldn't share an elevator with us. They waited for the next one so they could ride by themselves. 

Beautiful views of the city!

Quite possibly the coolest part of the entire museum was a giant room full of old newspaper front pages. There were hundreds of historic papers under special glass in pull-out drawers. we spent a good thirty minutes in there. I was in heaven. I love old documents, and this was just incredible.

Original publication of the Declaration of Independence

This cracks me up. There was a day when no one had even heard of Bill Clinton. Haha.

That room was just so, so cool. I have about a hundred photos of old papers. They also had an original Gutenberg Bible, an original copy of the Federalist Papers, an original copy of Areopagitica, and more. SO cool. 

Then there were a ton of exhibits about journalism history.

The original C-Span broadcast office, with broken "S" because it fell off the wall during a broadcast!

The door with a taped lock from the Watergate scandal

Then there was a 9/11 exhibit. It was so, so well done. Emotional and amazing and just wonderful.

The radio antenna from the top of one of the World Trade Center towers, with a backdrop of newspaper front pages from September 12th from all around the world.

A piece of the Pentagon debris

Personal belongings of a reporter who was killed trying to photograph the twin towers.

A piece of the Pennsylvania airplane

Such an amazing museum. I wish I could've spent another two days there. But alas, we had to head over to the Smithsonian's natural history museum! We kind of rushed through the natural history museum, stopping at a few exhibits we really wanted to see.

Easter Island statue



When I saw this, I said "whoa, that dinosaur really looks like a turtle!" I felt really dumb when we read the sign and it said "sea turtle." Yeah, turtles have been around for a while. 

Giant squid!!

Of course, my favorite part was probably the giant gemstones exhibit. This puts the one in the Houston science museum to shame.

Hope Diamond!!

How's that for a marquis solitaire?!?

We stopped for a super-quick lunch at a food cart on the way to the next museum - the Smithsonian museum of American History! This museum was huge. I could've spent two days there as well. We started with the transportation exhibit...

Jeff on an old bus, which was complete with recordings of people talking on an old bus.

Life vest from the Titanic

Another favorite was the exhibit on various inventions...

Thomas Edison's journals full of light bulb ideas

All the materials Edison tried to find the perfect filament for the light bulb.

Old fans.

Old vaccuum.

Then onto other fun exhibits...

the Greensboro lunch counter where Civil Rights sit-ins occured

The flag that hung on the ship when The Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key

One of my favorite parts was the exhibit on the first ladies... so many pretty inauguration gowns!

Rosalynn Carter

Nancy Reagan

Barbara Bush

Hilary Clinton

Laura Bush

Michelle Obama

There was also a ton of U.S. pop culture stuff --

Dorothy's ruby slippers

Original Wizard of Oz script - the shoes were originally silver!

Kermit the Frog

Apollo Ohno's skates

Stephen Colbert's portrait

The Abraham Lincoln exhibit was amazing as well...

Lincoln's top hat

His wife was so much shorter than him! Haha.

Civil War draft wheel

Lincoln's appointment of General Grant

There was also a really comprehensive exhibit on the presidents, and one on military history.

the "fireside chat" microphone

Other than the first ladies exhibit, this was my favorite - Julia Childs' kitchen!!!

How cool is that whole wall of pots? Amazing. I want a wall of pots.

By this time we were cutting it close to museum-closing time, so we headed over to our last stop - the Post Office museum! 

anti-Anthrax suit!

Old post office

Victory mail from WWII

The stamp collection vault!

So many slide out doors with stamps!

A mistake! A 5 cent stamp in the middle of a sheet of 2's.

Ireland stamps! (since it was St. Patty's day... haha)

We had dinner at a brewery right next to the Post Office museum - recommended by BM Amy! She was right - this place was great! Good food, good beer, and free soft pretzels!

Then, we headed to Union Station to pick up our rental car, and we made the three-hour drive to Williamsburg! Kristen and I fell asleep in the back seat while the boys listened to weird late-night radio shows. Jeff's parents let us use some of their timeshare credit to rent a condo at a lovely resort in Williamsburg. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a hot tub room! I think it was bigger than our apartment! Haha.

Kristen and Dan got the twin bed room. They're not quite married yet. Baha.

Our room - sleeping in a King-sized bed was so weird! It was HUGE! Haha.

Hot tub!

Living room

After we ran around checking out the condo, it was time to get some sleep - we were getting up early the next morning to go to Colonial Williamsburg!!


  1. Looks like so much fun!! I lived in DC for a while, but never got to the Newseum. After this, I'm definitely gonna have to go back! The first lady exhibit is one of my faves at the Smithsonian. Sounds like you're having a great spring break. :)

  2. Oh my gosh, that looks amazing. I'm telling my hubby I want to book a trip asap.

  3. Wow, the Newseum sounds really neat! I wish we'd had time to check it out.

    I absolutely loved Julia Child's kitchen. While we were there, we saw a video of Emeril teaching her how to suck the head of a crawfish - hilarious!!