Friday, December 12, 2008

Washington, DC

Part 1 of our holiday travels brought us to Williamsburg, VA. Because we were so close to DC, we decided to take an overnight trip up there with the fam'. Stop #1 was the September 11th memorial at the Pentagon. Each person who died in the attack is memorialized by a bench, inscribed with their name, with a thin canal of water running underneath. They are organized by the person's year of birth, each row containing all those who were born in the same year. It was appropriately sad, when you remembered that each bench represented someone who is no longer with their loved ones.

The next day we spent a few hours at the Newseum, which is all kinds of awesome. There is a gallery of Pulitzer prize winning photographs, along with their stories, which was shocking, to say the least. There was also a large room containing newspapers commemorating every notable event for the last 400 years. I really enjoyed reading some of the colonial-era newspapers - they had such small type!

The museum also has a lot of "stuff" which is a quality I value in museums. You can only read so much wall text... I want to see the stuff. The museum contains the actual cabin that the Unabomber lived in in Montana. It has a totally creepy outline of his body, created by smoke diverted by his body where he slept for 17 years. (At least I think that's what it is... let's just all agree and be collectively impressed.)

There were also artifacts from other "crimes of the century," including the DC sniper, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Waco cult. We saw an exhibition of photographs of presidential dogs, but I don't care about dogs. I do, however, care about knitting. I think this is Herbert Hoover's wife, knitting up a storm:

The entrance fee is steep at $20 (or $18 if you happen to keep an old student ID in your wallet, even though you graduated 2 years ago.) But, it was worth it, and I would definitely recommend this museum to anyone visiting DC.

I also headed over to the National Gallery of Art to see the Pompeii and the Roman Villa exhibit, because not only did I take a "Visual Culture of Pompeii" class in grad school, I also took "The Roman Villa." It was the perfect storm of art history.

This isn't the building the exhibit was in, but I don't like the modern architecture of the east wing... so look at the west wing instead.

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