From viewing the Declaration of Independence to Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, it has been another fascinating, mesmerizing, and meaningful day here in Washington D.C. As I look at these documents, the clothes, and the different artifacts that have been collected over the years, I am in awe of the history that has taken place. Seeing all of these elements, whether it is the Wright Brothers first plane, or the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, is a testimony to the power of life. Furthermore, it astonishes me how the human body, and what that human body can create, are merely remnants of what was at one time so powerful; whether it was the physical prowess of our early ancestors or the political potential of a pen stroke.
We quickly realized after we left the Smithsonian yesterday that we forgot an integral part of the American History Museum. Abraham Lincoln was beckoning us back and we were so glad that we did. In his exhibit, we saw his coat, top hat (which he wore the day he died), and even some of his bloodshed on an actor’s cuff at the Ford Theater. It was an inspirational exhibit and I have found a new mentor in Lincoln (John Wooden would agree!).
My mom and I then went on to the Natural History Museum where we saw a beautiful ocean exhibit and an impressive diorama collection. I always love looking at the different animals so up close; and it was especially fun because the Smithsonian really gave the animals some personality—see what I mean? Some of my other favorite moments at the museum was seeing the Hope Diamond (absolutely stunning) and getting up close with the butterflies in their garden. They also had an impressive evolution exhibit. Seeing all the fossils and the life-like representations made the transition in time so much easier to comprehend.
The Hishorn Art Exhibit was on the way so we took a peek in there. I’ve never really understood the strip of red on a blank page that suddenly becomes art, but hey, it must be “good” if it’s at the Smithsonian. Maybe I should make some art like this and make millions? I guess it worked for Palermo.
After that we headed over to the National Air Space Museum; if only my dad came with us to see this. Some of my favorite pieces were the Apollo 11 spacecraft that transported the astronauts to the moon and the Spirit of Saint Louis. But because my dad is an avid Apollo 13 fan, seeing Gene Kranz’s vest that he wore during the mission was the highlight of the museum for me.
Lastly, we went to the National Archives which was my favorite part of the day. Seeing The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights was so inspirational. Seeing John Hancock’s, Benjamin Franklin’s, and Thomas Jefferson’s pen strokes on the page right before me created an instant connection between me, the 21st century student, and them, the founding fathers of our country more than 200 years ago.
It was a beautiful day, inside the museums and out, and I am having an incredible time on my trip. My mom and I are having a lot of laughs and it’s so nice to have some bonding time together. I’m looking forward to more adventures to come!
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook