larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (vanished away)
During those early teenage years when I was old enough to take the Metro by myself but too young to get a job, I spent much of my summertimes haunting the tourist attractions of downtown Washington, DC -- particularly the museums on the Mall, Smithsonians and otherwise. Largely, of course, because they were free, always an important consideration for the job-free, but also because they are enormous warehouses of interesting cultural, artistic, scientific, and several other kinds of -ics artifacts. 'Cause, yanno, geeky kid.

One of the more interesting places in terms of being a Storage Attic On Display is the American History Museum. In addition to the sorts of exhibits you'd expect from a name like that, including more varieties of cultural impedimenta than you'd think possible, there's entire wings left over from the days when it was still called the Museum of History and Technology -- on such topics as the history of photography, atom smashers, printing and typography, glass- and ceramic-making, et sprawling cetera. On the third floor, there was one of the zappy sorts of large van de graaf machines hooked up to a button you could push. In the basement, a monumental marble statue of George Washington wearing a toga ...

(Pause to let that sink in. What's worse is he's not wearing a tunic, just the toga. I understand the reason they keep this thing around is it's one of the few likenesses made while Washington was alive, and for the faces of tourists when they round a corner and are suddenly confronted by this ... Thing.)

... and -- um, where was I? Oh yes, another amazing monstrosity: a scale model of the Capitol Building, a few meters long, made of blown glass. This was parked just outside the glass exhibit, or rather, the latter provided the excuse for displaying it.

I've been back to DC only a few times since leaving home, and over the years, many of my fond memories are no more. The Wonders of Nature exhibit tucked into a back corner of the Natural History Museum, used to display pretty things for their own sake, such as an entire wall of morpho butterflies and a ceremonial headdress made entirely of iridescent red hummingbird feathers, is long gone, along with Ancient Civilizations -- they wanted the space for an IMAX theater. And so on. New things come, old things change, or vanish in further construction.

A friend who's just back from DC has just informed me that the glass Capitol I'd directed her toward has not be on display for 18 years.

I think I need to recuse myself from offering any further tourism advice for my hometown.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (vanished away)
During those early teenage years when I was old enough to take the Metro by myself but too young to get a job, I spent much of my summertimes haunting the tourist attractions of downtown Washington, DC -- particularly the museums on the Mall, Smithsonians and otherwise. Largely, of course, because they were free, always an important consideration for the job-free, but also because they are enormous warehouses of interesting cultural, artistic, scientific, and several other kinds of -ics artifacts. 'Cause, yanno, geeky kid.

One of the more interesting places in terms of being a Storage Attic On Display is the American History Museum. In addition to the sorts of exhibits you'd expect from a name like that, including more varieties of cultural impedimenta than you'd think possible, there's entire wings left over from the days when it was still called the Museum of History and Technology -- on such topics as the history of photography, atom smashers, printing and typography, glass- and ceramic-making, et sprawling cetera. On the third floor, there was one of the zappy sorts of large van de graaf machines hooked up to a button you could push. In the basement, a monumental marble statue of George Washington wearing a toga ...

(Pause to let that sink in. What's worse is he's not wearing a tunic, just the toga. I understand the reason they keep this thing around is it's one of the few likenesses made while Washington was alive, and for the faces of tourists when they round a corner and are suddenly confronted by this ... Thing.)

... and -- um, where was I? Oh yes, another amazing monstrosity: a scale model of the Capitol Building, a few meters long, made of blown glass. This was parked just outside the glass exhibit, or rather, the latter provided the excuse for displaying it.

I've been back to DC only a few times since leaving home, and over the years, many of my fond memories are no more. The Wonders of Nature exhibit tucked into a back corner of the Natural History Museum, used to display pretty things for their own sake, such as an entire wall of morpho butterflies and a ceremonial headdress made entirely of iridescent red hummingbird feathers, is long gone, along with Ancient Civilizations -- they wanted the space for an IMAX theater. And so on. New things come, old things change, or vanish in further construction.

A friend who's just back from DC has just informed me that the glass Capitol I'd directed her toward has not be on display for 18 years.

I think I need to recuse myself from offering any further tourism advice for my hometown.

---L.

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