As part of our one full day in Washington we decided to spend some time in the National Museum of American History. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute and collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States.
One of the first exhibitions we visited was America on the Move, which explores the role of transportation in American History. This exhibit features 19 historic settings, from the coming of the railroad in 1876 to the suburbs of LA in 1999.
The museum is home to the original Star-Spangled Banner Flag, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1812 and inspired the national anthem. Also on display is a part of the lunch counter from the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth where a series of non-violent protests in 1960 led to the department store chain reversing its policy of racial segregation.
Another exhibition we made sure to visit was the ongoing American Stories exhibit on the second floor, which features an engaging mix of artefacts to tell stories about the country's history. Despite there being many items that we'd never heard of it was very interesting to learn about them all, and it was fascinating to see so many important pieces of American history on display.
Next we walked through The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden exhibition. This exhibit explores the role of the presidency on American culture and how each president has had an impact on the course of history in some way.
Above is a wall of street signs from the exhibit. In almost every city in the US there is a street named after a former president, with Washington (the 1st president) being the most used, followed closely by Lincoln (the 16th president).
There were many interesting objects in this exhibition, such as an early teddy bear that was created following a 1902 newspaper cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt, a noted hunter, refusing to shoot a captured bear cub. Another interesting item was the filing cabinet broken in to by President Richard Nixon's administration in 1971 when they were looking for information to use against Daniel Ellsberg. This was the first in a series of break-ins that included the famous incident at the Watergate Hotel.
Sadly we didn't have time to visit The First Ladies exhibition this time but we hope to visit again one day - the museum is full of fascinating objects & gives a very interesting insight in to American history!