Posts Tagged ‘travel to dc’

Smithsonian Institution: Our Top Five Picks

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
The Smithsonian Castle

The Smithsonian Castle

There are millions of objects in our collection, so picking only five isn’t really fair. But each of us has our own personal favorite that might be off the beaten path. That’s why we have Celebrate Smithsonian, the tour that takes you behind-the-scenes to see objects you might not have noticed.

  1. Let’s face it, Americans love their television. From 1971 to 1979, “All in the Family” was one of the most popular and influential TV shows in the United States. It addressed blatant bigotry and self-righteousnes in our culture, while actually finding the humor in its absurdity. Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Connor, spouted his opinions while sitting in his chair — which is now on display at the National Museum of American History.
  2. Military history fans and aviation nuts love the Curtiss P-40E. Also known as the Warhawk, Tomahawk, or Kittyhawk, this plane was incredibly versatile during World War II. But the Smithsonian has an even deeper connection to this plane. It was flown by the former Deputy Director of the National Air and Space Museum, Donald S. Lopez, who passed away in March 2008. Before it was hoisted to the ceiling trusses for permanent display, Mr. Lopez sat in the cockpit and posed in front of the airplane in the exact same position as a photo taken of him in China.  ”It was wonderful,” Lopez said about that day. “I am proud to have a P-40 here. It felt good to sit in the cockpit – I’d have no trouble flying it today.”
  3. For the kid in all of us, our next pick comes from the National Museum of the American Indian. As an incredible mix of tradition and modern life, Kiowa artist Teri Greeves decided to take her Converse sneakers and beaded them into a work of art. They are now on display on the third floor in the Our Lives gallery.
  4. We have all made a mistake, an oops, or maybe even a “whoopsie daisy”. Well, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing had their turn during the week of May 6- 13, 1918 when one sheet of one hundred stamps with an inverted image of a blue airplane escaped detection. After a series of purchases, the sheet has been broken into individual stamps, creating the legendary “Inverted Jenny” stamps. It’s now the most requested object to see at the National Postal Museum.
  5. For the true music fan, it doesn’t matter if it’s a harpsichord from the 1700s or Prince’s guitar. All of it is fascinating. The National Museum of American History’s music and musical instrument collection ranges from Dizzy Gillespie’s B-flat Trumpet to the Servais Cello, created by Antonio Stradivari (b. 1644). There are even early sound recordings of Elvis in this collection.

What’s your favorite object in the Smithsonian collection? Share Below.

Celebrate Smithsonian with us this October and explore the Smithsonian Institution’s  Museum Support Center made famous in Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol!

Video: Smithsonian Craft Show

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

This year’s Smithsonian Craft Show showcased more than 100 outstanding artists and their limited edition artists. The most prestigious juried exhibition of contemporary craft, the Smithsonian Craft Show takes place here in Washington, DC each April. Below, check out some of 2009′s beautiful works, courtesy of YouTube user Maskirovka77.

Sorry you missed this year’s show? Experience the 2010 Smithsonian Craft Show with us. Reservations still available at publication.

Video: In the Footsteps of Lincoln's Assassin

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

As we celebrate the life of Lincoln here at the Smithsonian Institution, Study Leader Ed Bearss follows in the footsteps of actor John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin.  Watch a clip of Stories from the Vaults host Tom Cavanaugh trying to keep up, courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel.

If you plan to be near Washington, D.C. anytime soon, click here to see a list of Lincoln-related events.

Video: Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel

Interview with Ed Bearss

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Smithsonian Journeys travelers have enjoyed exploring the past with Civil War historian Ed Bearss, walking the battlefields in real time, picnicking where Union soldiers did, and walking the trails of everyone from presidents to political prisoners. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ed on Smithsonian tours for many years, and, as the Smithsonian Institution prepares to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday, I recently sat down with Ed to talk about Lincoln’s time in Washington. – Patrick Wagner

Patrick Wagner: Lincoln was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1846 when he was 39 years old. What was his experience as a freshman congressman in Washington, D.C.?

Photo: Robert C. Lautman and the Todd family photo album

Photo: Robert C. Lautman and the Todd family photo album

Ed Bearss: Lincoln spent two sessions in the 30th United States Congress. In the first session, he was accompanied by his wife Mary Todd and his son Robert. En route to Washington, they made a lengthy visit with Mary’s family in Lexington, Kentucky, where Lincoln got better acquainted with Mary’s father, stepmother, and other Lexington friends. But for his second session of Congress, Mary Todd did not come to Washington. For this trip, Lincoln lived in a modest rooming house with other members of Congress and took his meals at a common table in the establishment. (more…)