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Two Year Travel Anniversary: Museums

Wednesday, April 1st. was our 2 year anniversary of traveling. You can read about our 1 year anniversary here or here. If you haven’t read the other two posts, or you want to read them again, I would suggest going back and reading them all in order. But if you just want to read this one, than go on ahead!

At 6:00 in the morning Dad woke us up. Gordon was tired, as he always is when waking up before noon, but I wasn’t! I jumped out of bed and got dressed in a long sleeve T-shirt, jeans, a sweater, and a jacket. It’s cold here in Williamsburg, Virginia, and I’m not planning on freezing to death! At 6:30 we were all ready to go. Gordon and I grabbed blankets, and Mom handed us our breakfasts. (A chocolate-banana shake and a bagel with cream cheese for Gordon, and a shake and banana for me). We got in the car and started to drive. I brushed and braided my hair, and then we played the license-plate game. (A game in which you find license plates from different states). It was a 2 and a half hour drive, but it didn’t seem too long. At 8:30 A.M. we crossed the border and read the sign. It said:

“Welcome to Washington D.C.”

A Picture I Took of a Water Fountain
A Picture I Took of a Water Fountain

Soon after arriving, I saw the Capitol Building from the highway. I was a little disappointed to find that the dome was under construction, so we couldn’t really see it. But it was alright, because we could see so many other things! The first thing we went to was the American History Museum at the Smithsonian. There was one exhibit that had stuff from movies, like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. That was fun to see, but in the upper floor there were things I liked better. I can’t limit my favorite thing to just one, so I’ll tell my top three favorites.

One thing I saw that was really exciting was Thomas Jefferson’s writing desk. It was the one that he wrote the Declaration of Independence on! There was a note in it that said that he knew it would become something of great value and something that people came from all over to see.

Another thing of Thomas Jefferson’s was a Polygraph. Now Polygraph means lie detector, but back then it was something else entirely. A polygraph use to be a brilliant device that had two arms with a fountain pen on the end of each. The idea was that you would hold one pen and write with it, and the other pen would copy your actions, because the arms were connected. There were also two ink pots. When you dipped your pen, the other pen dipped. It was a genius idea, and I can’t imagine why people don’t still use it today. Not only does it copy your words, it copies your handwriting!

The Polygraph
The Polygraph

Last, but  most certainly not least, is the most famous thing in the museum. Of course you’ve heard of it! You probably see at least one replica every single day! The last thing we saw in the American History Museum of the Smithsonian was The Original American Flag, sewn by Betsy Ross herself. The Flag!! The Flag That Francis Scott Key was looking at when he wrote the National Anthem!! How cool is that??? (Answer: Pretty Darn Cool)

The flag had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, because at that time there were fifteen colonies. I saw “had” because somebody cut off one of the stars years ago as a keepsake. That was before the flag was in a museum, and since nobody really thought to preserve it, it was just fine to take a piece. There are little chunks cut off of edges, too.

When people were preparing the flag to be put in the museum, they had to cut 1.7 million stitches to get off the linen backing that was beginning to wear too much.

The other museum we went to was a Japanese drawing and tea museum.

I really liked looking at the tiny, detailed drawings to try to find people. Some were fishing, carrying water, walking, or hunting. Some were just sitting inside houses, or out on boats. Sometimes there were animals, too. Little birds, or a few rabbits. They were really pretty. Sorry for the size of this next picture. It would be impossible to see the detail if it was any smaller.

This is not a Japanese drawing, but it is similar in the way that it is very small and detailed. This was one of a dozen small drawings of the style.
This is not a Japanese drawing, but it is similar in the way that it is very small and detailed. This was one of a dozen small drawings of the style.

There were little tea bowls, in another room, and clay serving trays. Some were made with two different colors of clay, each taking up half of the space diagonally. Some were weird geometric shapes, and some had drawing on them or scratched into them. They were all beautiful, each in their own way.

I won’t write about the monuments, because I’m sure this is long enough already. Next week, though, Gordon will tell about them. So stay tuned!

– Lillian