Monday, December 1, 2008

The One Hour Thanksgiving Smithsonian Tour

Thanksgiving Day 9:55 a.m. National Museum of American History.

My annual one hour T-Day romp through a Smithsonian museum! Why one hour? Cause I can! This years goal is to see all the major exhibits at the newly renovated National Museum of American History and be out in one hour in order to return home to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

The line for the opening at 10:00 am is fairly short and moves quickly.

To avoid the crowds we start on the 3rd floor and work our way down. The museum is much brighter now with a skylight flooding the atrium with natural light. The exhibits also seem to be better organized and laid out in a manner to handle large crowds.

10:05 "Thanks for the Memories"

The famous collection of movie, sports, music and other cultural memorabilia is now all consolidated into one room. With no crowds around is it easy to hold your foot up to the case displaying Dorothy's ruby slippers for a size comparison, not that you would do this (I'd guess a size 6). Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves and Kermit the frog are still on display; Archie Bunker's chair and Fonzie's leather jacket are MIA.

10:10 "Musical Instruments"

A collection of famous violins, infamous trombones and raunchy cellos. Well who really knows? I gave it a glance and moved on. When office mates start obsessing over their picks for "Fantasy Symphony Orchestra League" I'll come back.

10:12 "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden"

A holdover from the previous exhibits but one of my favorites.

Lots of Inaugural memorabilia here but no tickets to Obama's.

FDR's funeral procession

10:21 "Abraham Lincoln" (opens January 16, 2009)

I am looking forward to all the exhibits opening in honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200 birthday. I always felt an affinity for Abraham Lincoln and not just because we were both gawky youths growing up in the Midwest who later moved to DC and were involved in relationships with the clinically insane.

10:23 "Within These Walls"

HGTV meets the History Channel. Didn't see Archie's chair here either.

10:27 "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" (which unfortunately doesn't open until December 2008.)

Perhaps when this finally opens we will find Rosalynn Carter channeling Pinky Tuscadero while wearing Fonzie's leather jacket. I entertain the disappointed throngs with a spontaneous rendition of Beyonce's hit
"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".

10:33 2 West Hallway

A buff George Washington shows nippleage while signaling for his mani pedi

10:38 "The Gettysburg Address"

The White House loaned its Lincoln Bedroom copy of the Gettysburg Address for this exhibit and it looks exactly like the version I decoupaged in 6th grade. Must contact Herb Sr later to discuss current provenance.

10:43 "The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise" (Opens Jan 30, 2009)

Point O' Trivia not mentioned here: The gay sports bar Nellie's currently occupies the Scurlock Studio building on U Street.

10:45 "Julia Child's Kitchen", "Science in American Life", Inventions", "Some Other Lady's Kitchen", "Fun with Atom Bombs" and "Spark!Lab" featuring some poor guy teaching science to dozens of kids amped up on $5 cookies from the "Stars and Stripes Cafe". WHEW!

10:49 "America on the Move"

And so we did.

10:50 "The Star Spangled Banner"

The lines for the Star Spangled Banner were long. Was it a mistake to start at the top and work our way down? In the picture below you can see part of the 40-foot-by-19-foot “waving flag” made of 960 reflective panels whose colors slightly shift as you move past — especially when running from floor to floor of the museum.

10:58 Finally we get in! The pictures didn't turn out in the darkened room but rest assured it was almost exactly like this.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2008

Next year's challenge? The Air and Space Museum in 30 minutes!


D.C. Confidential said...

Wow! I was there the very same day at the exact same time. And we missed each other? Bummer. Hey, when you do the 30 minute Air & Space (which, personally, I think is about 25 minutes too long, but I'll indulge you here), let me know. I'd like to see that tour!

j.m. tewkesbury said...

Whoops. Sorry. The previous comment belongs to me. (See above.)

Katherine said...

I went two hours later and the lines were so long I couldn't get into the exhibits. But the gift shop was nice.

Faceless Bureaucrat said...

Thank for the drive-by review (complete with high-speed lane changes!). From someone who spent the last two years serenaded by the sound of jackhammers above and below, I'm pleased you were able to navigate our new, more open-and-streamlined museum interior in your allocated 60 minutes.

Come back for Lincoln, stay for the tuna hotdish. ;-)

Scenic Wheaton said...

How did you get the plunger past security?

Can't wait to read the one about the Air and Space Museum.