Friday, July 22, 2011

A Visit to Washington, DC. - Family, Friends, Learning & Laughter - Part 1

     I can't begin to tell you how busy this summer has been. Hence the crazy amount of time since my last post.
    One of the things that I have been working towards and just recently completed, is a visit to Washington, DC. to attend the National Institute on Genealogical Research. 
    Another major benefit of being in DC was getting to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law who live nearby and provided my wife and me with lodging, good food and fun.  Of course they also took some time to act as tour guides taking us to see some of the local historical sites as time permitted.
    I don't know how long this may take to write about and so I will break it up into multiple parts as I share our experiences over the next several posts.
   On our first full day in DC - after sleeping in to get over time zone differences - we took our first bus and Metro ride downtown to meet my sister for lunch. We also got a quick tour of her office building right next to the Navy Memorial and across from the National Archives.  This made it very convenient to head to the Archives after lunch to get my official Researcher Card for the upcoming week.
Knowing that we had limited time to see many of the museums in the area, we decided that the Smithsonian National Museum of American History would be one not to miss.
    And right we were!  What an amazing place! Everything from the National Anthem inspiring Star-Spangled Banner (1814) and Thomas Edison's Light Bulb (1879) to the Inaugural Gowns of the First Ladies, and Julia Child's Kitchen. Bon Apetit!
    At one point in our wanderings we came around the corner above the lobby to see a group unfurling a giant flag and the gathering crowd singing the National Anthem.  Many were misty-eyed - God Bless America!
    For me, one of the most fascinating exhibits was called  
Within These Walls.  Here is the description from the museums website - "At the center of this gallery is a partially reconstructed house that stood for 200 years at 16 Elm Street in Ipswich, Massachusetts, about 30 miles north of Boston.
    The house and the exhibition that surrounds it tell the stories of five families who lived there over the years and made history in their kitchens and parlors, through everyday choices and personal acts of courage and sacrifice.
    Through their lives, the exhibition explores some of the important ways ordinary people have been part of the great changes and events in American history." See more at this link.
Stay tuned for more adventures....