With so many things to see in DC, I had to make a list after I arrived last night. After looking at weather reports, I decided to set aside today for museums and our evening LSE Alumni event and tomorrow (when it’s supposed to be a touch warmer) for monument spotting and a possible trip to Arlington. There are entirely too many museums here to see in one trip (or one lifetime), so I picked a few that particularly piqued my interest.
First stop: the Natural History Museum.
After rounding up a map from the Information Center, I spent nearly two hours perusing the Natural History Museum. I could have easily spent longer, but with so many sites to visit I didn’t want to spend too much time in any one spot. As you may recall me mentioning, I loved the Natural History Museum in London and I knew that if this was remotely similar, I would be a fan. Luckily, it was just as cool as I had hoped and had some incredible exhibits. I’m always a fan of the sections dedicated to geology, and the gem section at the museum was spectacular… they even had the Hope Diamond on display.
After the Natural Museum, I headed next door to the Museum of American History. Being in DC, I thought it only fitting to see some exhibits focusing on the country’s history. The exhibit on the American Presidency and the First Ladies of the US were both amazing, and a must for anyone visiting the nation’s capital. The museum also houses Edison’s light bulb and a really cool flag exhibit; all incredibly well done.
While there were other Smithsonian museums (17 others) that I would have loved to see, I decided to head to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum afterwards per my friend’s suggestion. I am so thrilled that I went — it’s probably one of the best museums that I’ve ever been to. It’s so well done, interactive and moving and is truly a must for anyone in DC. Visitors adopt a persona as they make their way through the museum, and while it’s a serious and intense experience, it manages to be crafted in a way that is also perfect for kids that have some level of understanding of the events that took place during WWII.
I ended up catching an amazing series with a Q&A session with holocaust survivor, Fritz Gluckstein. Hearing him talk about the events from his perspective was an incredible and unique experience. In truth, there’s a limited amount of time left for our generation to understand the first-hand experiences of holocaust survivors so it’s something I would encourage anyone to do if the opportunity arises. If you’re in DC on a Wednesday afternoon, it’s the perfect chance to listen to accounts from different survivors. After the series, I got to see the permanent exhibit, which comprises three floors in an absolutely stunning way.
Note: While the exhibit is free, it is ticketed so be aware. After seeing a number of museums throughout the US and Western Europe I can honestly say that it’s one of the best – definitely Top 3 – museums I’ve ever experienced.
Icing on the cake? All of the museums were free. The only thing I paid for all day was a ball of matzoh ball soup from the Holocaust Museum Cafe during lunch. Needless to say, it was a fun-filled first half day. Up on the agenda for later: Georgetown and an LSE Alum event plus checking out the iconic DC monuments tomorrow!
Love from DC,