Our Washington visit -- part 3-- 02/24/09

We did quite a bit of walking while we were in Washington. I used the pedometer function with Google Maps and figured that we walked about four miles on Thursday afternoon and evening and then walked at least seven miles on Friday (more if you could add up all of the slow steps wandering around inside each individual gallery or through each individual exhibit). On Saturday I figure that we covered five miles together... and I covered another two miles.

I had noticed on a tourist-info map that the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was only about half a dozen blocks or so from our hotel (you may recall me mentioning in a recent entry that February 7th was the 90th anniversary of my grandfather's death in the line of duty as a police officer), so I set out early Saturday morning to find it.
The memorial is on a three acre plot of land between E Street NW and F Street NW, a small landscaped park with two slightly curved "pathways of remembrance" where the names of the fallen officers are engraved -- 18,200 at present (new names are engraved each year in May). Each end of the two paths are guarded by lion statues. The one shown above is in the southeast corner of the memorial. A quotation from Tacitus: "IN VALOR THERE IS HOPE." My grandfather's name is inscribed on the first panel next to this lion.

Across the street from the Memorial is the former Pension Building, which now houses the National Building Museum. When I mentioned this to Nancy, she was interested in visiting it to find out if they had any information on famous Washington buildings because the 8th grade students on her team will be visiting Washington on a class trip later this school year.

So we set off -- stopping at the Memorial so I could show it to her -- and then crossing to the Building Museum to find it filled with about five thousand children. Okay, I exaggerate a bit, but it is a huge building and it was filled a lot of kids because this was a special program for kids about engineering.

Ever alert for ideas she can use in her classroom, Nancy was quite busy gathering handouts and instruction sheets from various hands-on experiments and demonstrations (things like building bridges from pieces of paper and toothpicks and marshmallows) -- if there is someway to work in practical examples of the use of mathematics, Nancy is interested. However, I do not think she will be doing the demonstration shown in the picture above. Look about in the middle of the photo for the guy hanging on a rope -- he was demonstrating the use of a small electric motor (sort of a hand-held elevator) for traveling up and down a rope. He had started on the floor, traveled up to just below the ceiling, and then paused halfway down, talking through a microphone the whole time, and finally returned to the floor to take questions from an excited group of kids. (And isn't that an absolutely magnificent building?)

Then we crossed back over and were walking westward on D Street when we got kidnapped by the Koshland Science Museum (of the National Academy of Science) -- well, actually rounded up by museum employees who were stopping people on the street and offering free admission (plus free hot chocolate on a brisk and windy winter day) -- which, it appears, is a very effective way of getting people into your relatively new museum (not quite five years old). They don't compare in size, of course, with the Smithsonian museums, but they did have some nicely designed interactive exhibits. (After all, the National Academy of Science does have some very smart members.)

And I can't resist showing you this photograph. Yes, my fellow Americans, that is the Internal Revenue Service building. We had passed the IRS on our way from the Koshland Science Museum over to the National Mall to visit the Museum of American History again.
We spent the rest of our available time in Washington at the American History museum, seeing (among many other things), Julia Child's kitchen; a two century long history of an actual house, the families who lived in it, how they earned their livings, how they decorated and cooked, etc.; an extensive exhibit of a century of transportation; the car that won the robot car contest; and, of course, The Ruby Slippers.

And that left us just enough time to get back to our hotel and pick up our luggage (we had checked out in the morning but left our stuff with the bell staff), grab a couple of sandwiches (from a Subway sandwich shop) to eat on the train, and then walk over to Union Station to grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks before catching our 3:25 train home.

previous entry

next entry

To list of entries for 2009

To Home (Index) page


Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com