Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smithsonian: Castles and American History

Everyone probably knows a little bit about the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  It was founded in 1846, according to them. The short and pithy version is that the Smithsonian is the greatest source of American history, endowed by a man who was not American and who, if I recall correctly, never set foot on its shores. Also, as you can see below, it has a very pretty castle.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Naval Aviation Before World War I and Willard Park

There are two things to keep in mind about the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. First, the Park is right outside the museum. Besides being a park by the water and near the display ship, which is already enough reason to go there, there are a bunch of artifacts displayed there for you to look at. There are a lot of little places like this throughout D.C., and I'm hoping as I find them to provide nice, short posts with some pictures. Probably the items most people will recognize the historical importance of are the artifacts from the Maine.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

“The Gradual Loss of Blue Sky”*

Let me tell you a story. I was asked a few years ago what my first memory of television was. I answered pretty quickly that it was the Challenger disaster. Of course, this is a completely inaccurate memory that is entirely not true. I wasn't even two yet on January 28, 1986. It is a false memory, but I remember it because of my attachment to space as a kid. I remember going to my elementary school on some nights when they had telescopes so we could view the stars. Space was almost in reach.

Monday, June 20, 2011

National Museum of the U.S. Navy, American Revolution Exhibit

I walked into the National Museum of the U.S. Navy the first time in the summer of 2004. During that time, I was an intern with the Ships History Branch collecting notes from the ship's logs at the National Archives and writing the history for Bear. When I visited, I spent most of my time idling without any particular purpose. Now, seven years later, I went there for this blog's inaugural museum visit. It might be sentimental, but I find it one of the most overlooked museums in the D.C. area. Even the walk from the gate to the museum has a scattering of artifacts, like shells from the guns on Navy vessels.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Combining Myth and History*

My academic background has shaped my world view, or, more accurately, my world view shaped my academic background. Probably mutually. This helped sharpen my intellectual focus. I hold degrees in English and history; I was going to do the reading for both subjects anyway, so I figured that I might as well get the paper that said I had read it all.

I believe history is a powerful force. Real history is dirty and ugly and through it humanity shines on through. History lays out the worst and best of humanity.