Week 20 – Washington DC


I arrived in DC a few days after a very sad moment, the inauguration of Lord Voldemort. Walking around the city, you could still see the remnants of the ceremony.

That aside, I had a really great time exploring the capital. The National Mall possibly has more museums and galleries than anywhere in the world. And nearly all of it free to see.

Ice skating on The Mall
Ice skating on The Mall

There are so many things to see. I went to:

  • The National Art Gallery
  • The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
  • The American Museum of Art
  • The American Museum of History
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Washington Monument
  • The White House.

It is all walkable, and on the first day I did over 20,000 steps, and boy did my feet feel it! All the main sights feel so familiar, having seen them on TV so much. It all feels very impressive.

The Washington Memorial
The Washington Memorial

Abraham Lincoln

The Lincoln Memorial was particularly interesting, as I have seen lots about Lincoln’s legacy whilst travelling across the States, particularly his involvement in ending the American Civil War and his involvement in ending slavery.

Abraham Lincoln statue
Abraham Lincoln statue

The White House

As for the White House, there is so much security around it you cannot get anywhere near to it these days. Not that I wanted to be any closer to Mr T!

The White House
The White House

Flight and space travel

The Air and Space museum was great too. Interesting exhibitions on the early days of flight, including the original plane the Wright used and the Spirit of St Louis, the first plane to fly across the Atlantic. There’s also lots of great space artifacts, including space toilets!

Space toilet
Space toilet
John Glenn's space suit
John Glenn’s space suit
Space suit of Yuri Gagarin
Space suit of Yuri Gagarin
Historic planes at the National Space and Flight Museum
Historic planes at the National Space and Flight Museum
The Spirit of St Louis
The Spirit of St Louis

Art

Washington has loads of great art galleries. The National Gallery has an impressive range of art, with a new contemporary wing. I loved the Andy Warhol pictures as well as the only Leonardo Da Vinci painting in North America. I did a great volunteer led free guided tour, highly recommended.

Green Marilyn by Andy Warhol 1962
Green Marilyn by Andy Warhol 1962
Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo da Vinci, 1474
Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo da Vinci, 1474

American History

The American Museum of History has a really broad range of artifacts, ranging from the ruby red slippers that Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz to the tophat that Abraham Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated.

Abraham Lincoln's top hat
Abraham Lincoln’s top hat
The Ruby Slippers
The Ruby Slippers

There was also a good section on African American history. I was glad to see that as I had tried unsuccessfully to visit the new African American museum. One exhibit was particularly moving, the original lunch counter from the Greensboro sit-in. I has learnt about this at the Civil Rights museum in Memphis. It was a non violent protest by young people, protesting against segregation, and it was actions like these which started to turned the public opinion against this form of civil rights abuse.

Greensboro lunch counter
Greensboro lunch counter

I have really enjoyed visiting DC. Next (and final stop) – Boston.

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