The national mall

So it had occurred to me that now that I live here, I could just randomly pop off to go to things like the Smithsonian (which is free, who knew?).

And it also occurred to me, after I learned that the Smithsonian is in fact open on Sundays, that today would be a good day to do so. The Museum of American History is closing after Labor Day for a long time for renovations, so I was running out of time to go see that one.

So I did. I took the metro in, which pops you right out in the midst of all the Smithsonian buildings (why do they call it the Smithsonian when there are many different buildings?), and took the short walk over to the museum. I stopped for a pretzel before I went in and was bugged by the World's Bravest Squirrel for a bite. I totally caved...I'm used to the skittish black squirrels at Kent State and this guy was all ready to eat out of my hand.

So, anyway, back to the actual museum. You just walk in and go through security bag check and then you're there. Awesome.

Many of the exhibits were closed in preparation for the renovation but there was still plenty to keep me occupied for an afternoon. I particularly liked the transportation exhibit — everything from ocean liners to Route 66 to the L in Chicago. The conservation of the star-spangled banner was interesting, too, as was what happened to polio. I found parts of the America at war exhibit really moving, like things that had been left at the Vietnam memorial, and wasn't really prepared for that. Shortly after that was 9/11, and a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. Really wasn't prepared for that one.

I wasn't planning to make this entry a downer, really...

After the Smithsonian, I went to the World War II memorial to take some pictures to show my grandfather, and then, because I am an idiot, kept walking to the Lincoln Memorial. Which probably put my walking total on the day at at least three miles, since my apartment's half a mile from the metro to begin with.

So I am very tired. But....pictures in the next post!

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