Sunday, June 9, 2019

Washington, DC: May 30-31

May 30
Thursday was the day of our White House tour. We began at the visitors center, which had a scale model of the White House and a very interesting movie where former presidents and first ladies described their thoughts of living in the White House.

Another beautiful ceiling in the visitors center.
Portrait of Laura Bush, my favorite  First Lady.
Vermeil Room
China Room
East Room

Green Room, self-explanatory I suppose...

I took this for my friend, Anne, who loves green. :)
A lovely view--I would definitely enjoy morning coffee with a view like this. Actually we were told that these rooms are used three to four times weekly, not just for tours.
 These flowers were breathtaking.

The Red Room.
State Dining Room

A hallway on the way out of the White House.

It was a beautiful tour and we felt fortunate to have seen at least part of the White House.

Understandably, security is tight. You sure didn't want to attract the attention of the guy on the left.

After our tour, we walked past the Eisenhower building, which takes up an entire block.

We made our way to our first Smithsonian visit, the Museum of American History. We had hoped to see a textile exhibit, but we only saw this one quilt.
I took a few pictures for other people.

The original Wonder Woman costume for Amelia Brooks, who loves Wonder Woman.
This train car for Charlotte because, well, of its name.
And Dorothy's ruby slippers for Christa, a long-time Wizard of Oz fan.
While we missed a lot of pop culture (Archie Bunker's chair, the Batmobile, etc.), I was able to see what I really wanted to see--the dresses of the First Ladies, as well as some White House china.

Jackie Kennedy
Edith Wilson. She wore this dress in 1915 and I thought it was absolutely stunning.

Laura Bush

Michelle Obama

Melania Trump
Examples of White House china.

Next we went to the Museum of African American History and Culture. Although it is part of the Smithsonian, and therefore free, someone at the White House visitors center recommended going online to get tickets. Since it opened about 2 1/2 years ago, crowds have been massive and therefore they try to limit the crowds at any given time by requiring tickets until after 1 p.m.

I liked the juxtaposition of the Washington Monument, build in the mid 1800s, against the more modern architecture of the African American Museum.
This museum is huge, six floors. It is not an easy museum. The bottom three floors are devoted to the history of slavery, segregation--not easy to read. Although I knew this already, Mark and I "do" museums quite differently. I'm more of an overview person, while he likes to do a lot of reading. This was tough reading and emotionally it wore me out. I didn't want to make him feel rushed so I told him to take his time while I waited on the main floor. I needed to rest, although there was no comfortable place to sit and there were what seemed like a gazillion junior high kids on tour.

When he got back to the main floor, we went to the top three floors, which was a fabulous history of black pop culture--literature, art, music, sports. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the museum. I took this picture for Aaron, who at one point had his room decorated with all things Michael Jordan.
And I loved these quotes in the music section.

I highly recommend this museum. Just be prepared for the full gamut of emotions as you go through it. And time--we spent over four hours but it would have been easy to spend much longer.

And when we got back to the main floor we were in the midst of a heavy thunderstorm and had to buy rain ponchos from the gift shop.

May 31

We toured the Pentagon on Friday.

As far as tours went, it was probably my least favorite. All the facts and information were fascinating. There are 17.5 miles of corridors on several levels although because of its design, it only takes seven minutes to walk between any two points in the building. 27,000 people work there including military, government and civilian--it is very much its own little city. In fact we turned the corner at one point and there was a Red Box. We found out there is also a hair salon, many fast food restaurants, a florist, and a jeweler, among other things. But it was a slow walk through corridors that basically all looked the same. But again, I'm glad to have toured the Pentagon.

An interesting side note is that there is a room dedicated to those who died in the 9/11 attack. There is a plaque dedicated to a man who worked in the Pentagon. Apparently he was a workaholic, and his family and coworkers told him he needed to take a vacation. So he did. His office was the site of the direct hit on the Pentagon. But he wasn't there. Instead he was on one of the planes that hit the Trade Center. There is a plaque dedicated to him in NYC as well. The irony...

We enjoyed dinner at Union Station, and then walked to the West Side of the Capitol. It was so pleasant, and there were very few tourists. It seemed amazing to be in the place where recent presidents have been inaugurated.

And with that, our officially scheduled tours were over.


05 08
Charlotte M. said... #

Just read all your posts. What a wonderful experience for you. I saw a traveling exhibit of Jackie Kennedy's clothes in Chicago a number of years ago. She was tiny!

DianeY said... #

Thank you for such a fun and comprehensive tour! I've been there several times over the last many years but not for nearly as long so I haven't seen a lot of your stops. It is an amazing city! said... #

I see that the White House tour hasn't changed much since 1998! Visited many of the DC attractions while living in VA as well. I would have suggested the DAR Museum for textiles. They usually have a nice variety of old quilts too.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

Thanks for sharing your trip and tours through these 3 posts. I enjoyed seeing all the photos and reading what you did. You managed a lot and I can totally understand being in the '2 weeks isn't enough camp.' I have't been to DC since I lived in Richmond for a couple of years in the early 80s. I'm sure much has changed.

Jacqui's Quilts said... #

Loved your tour photos and comments! That slavery exhibit would have been very emotional! We toured the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa a few year ago and just got through an area devoted to the Netherlands (my parent came from Holland). I felt emotional spent just from that section! The White House tour looked awesome too..imagine living in a home like that?

Robby said... #

I envy you the White House tour. Actually, I have a little tiny hope that I might get to see it all decorated for Christmas, but we shall see. I would also like to see the African American museum. I think I understand a little of the emotional impact aspect. We went to the Holocaust museum when we were there and I did pretty well until the end, but I did find I was guarding myself just a bit, like the little kid who peeks through their fingers at the scary things. I want to know, but it's hard to anticipate what might overwhelm you. In a way, given the nature of the events being documented in those hard to digest parts, perhaps that is fitting.

OPQuilt said... #

Wow--such a collection of wonderful memories, and I love that you have pins from all of these places (much better than magnets, which is my go-to souvenir). We only had 90 minutes to tour the MAAHC, and didn't even know about the lower three floors. After your description, I'm not sad to have been spared all the heartache. Thanks for all your writing-- I've loved seeing all this from your eyes. (AND PS: you don't have to write back to my comments.)