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.

(Photos by Matt Sablan)

So, as you can see, it is both classy and historical. No trip to D.C. is really complete without going to some of the Smithsonian museums. I vaguely remember visiting them as I was growing up, then again a few times in high school. After that, when I came to Virginia for college, I made trips out now and again, but nowhere near as often as I really could have. It was odd, but living next to it made it less pressing to have to go and go now.

But, then I started to realize that I could take more time. I could see things, and I could avoid tourists. To be honest, much of my early museum-going during and after college has been targeted around avoiding tourists. The Smithsonian has proven to be an amazing resource to live near; I remember its Jim Henson exhibit and touching moon rocks (and seeing other kinds of rocks). That is before we even get to the cultural American touchstones for us (though, I could have chosen a more historic hat.)

The castle and the carousel captured my imagination as a kid, and I've enjoyed having an excuse to go and revisit things as I've grown up and take a second look at them. C.S. Lewis repeatedly said that any book that is only worth reading once is most likely not a good book; that reading them again and again defined great literature. I think the same thing is true for almost any good experience. As I take some time to go back and revisit the Smithsonian galleries and museums, I want to help further talk about myths and American history, and I want to help people who may not live close enough to D.C. to get a chance to take a look into American treasures (but, dear God, not National Treasures.)

Also, this Friday is the 35th anniversary for the Air and Space Museum. If you can make it there, you should go. Because I can't.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Are you commenting? Thank you! Please be nice; I'm lazy and would hate to actually have to moderate things.