Monday, June 7, 2010

"Dispatches from the Capital - Day Two"

Which was yesterday.

After breakfast, we go to the Museum of American History.

And stay there for four hours.

It's a really good museum.

The museum's exhibits' contents range from Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz to Abraham Lincoln's hat. (Plus, among tons of other things, Julia Child's kitchen, and the original lunch counter from the first civil rights sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Ruby Slippers are swell, but when you get down to it, they're, you know, a movie prop. But you show me Lincoln's hat and I'll stare at it for twenty minutes. And then make Dr. M take a picture of me kneeling beside it. I mean, come on! That'a Lincoln'a hat! Lincoln's head was in it. And that head made up the "Gettysburg Address!"

It's all a matter of individual differences. There was a huge exhibit on the evolution of the light bulb. Techno-folk would find that, dare I say, illuminating? But my eye went to a truck from the 1930's that could have transported the Joad family to California, right beside a substantial slab of the actual Route 66 that you could walk on. I'm a story guy. That truck and that hunk of highway was all I needed to rev up my imagination. The light bulb is nice, but I don't know how a clock works.

There was an exhibit on Jewish immigration, which was uplifting, right beside an exhibit on Slave Life, which made me queasy. I couldn't help thinking of the contrasting ways each group arrived at this country. Both of our ancestors traveled in steerage, but only one of them were in chains.

I draw the line at the exhibit of First Ladies' inauguration outfits. Waiting for Dr. M, I plant myself on a nearby bench, joining two other gentlemen who clearly feel exactly the same way.

And then we left.

After a short rest, we visited the Spy Museum. The Spy Museum is overflowing with ingenious gadgets (one, the Hollow Stick, used to hide secret messages, was developed by Canadians; I was so proud), informative films and interactive challenges, all relating to the wonderful world of subterfuge. Though interesting, the Spy Museum wasn't really wasn't for me. I don't like to be fooled. And that's all spies do. The museum's theme is: "All Is Not As It Seems." I already knew that. And it's not a reassuring thought.

Tomorrow: Gettysburg

1 comment:

Brian Phillips said...

I find it mildly depressing that anyone knows where the Spy Museum is. It's like calling a psychic and he/she then asks you who is calling.