I visited Washington, D.C. for the first time with my family earlier this month. It was a very interesting and educational trip. See some of the sights we saw in our nation’s capitol below. You can click on images to view larger photos.
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Inside The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Does this remind anyone of geology class? That’s what I was thinking of when I saw this colorful display at the National Museum of Natural History.
Washington D.C.’s extensive subway system amazed me. Thousands of people travel through huge stations like this beneath the streets of D.C. every day. I had never seen such a busy system. Even with many cars, it was busy even late into the evening.
A space capsule at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Inside the space capsule at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It amazed me how old the interior looked.
The Wright Brother’s plane. Planes have become so much more aerodynamic! I will say, it looked like it was in good shape, though.
This is the cockpit of a Northwest Airlines 747 that flew from the 1970s to 1999. I can’t imagine trying to keep track of all of the switches and dials while in-flight! It’s a good thing the cockpit was setup for two pilots and a navigator.
This has to be the smallest McDonald’s location I have ever seen. It was just outside the National Air and Space Museum.
The National Gallery’s architecture was beautiful. The museum featured original photos of presidents often found in high school textbooks, among other famous works.
The Newseum was one of my favorite attractions in D.C. Built in 2008, the six-story building shows pieces from recent news events and tells the story of journalists and their tools, who shape what we see online, in print and on TV.
Dozens of newspaper cover pages sit outside the museum. They are updated daily. While we were reading about the Twins home opener in the StarTribune, a couple walked by and said it looked like the people in the picture were at a football game. Perhaps they think a Minnesota spring is too cold for outdoor baseball?
Part of the Berlin Wall. While this side (West Germany side) was colored with graphiti, the other (East Germany side) was nearly unblemished. It was a stark contrast.
A section of the communication tower that stood on the north World Trade Center Tower before 9/11.
Newspapers the day after 9/11. It’s interesting how different publications represented the same event in different ways. Some publications used huge headers and graphics, while more traditional publications like The New York Times opted for smaller headers and more text.
Bill Gates used his company’s products — his Microsoft Natural Keyboard is found in the Newseum.
Rupert Murdoch’s old telephone.
A satellite communication device CNN used for field reporting in the late 1990s.
The Newseum has a Minnesota connection. An early Conus satellite truck is found in the museum’s basement. Conus was owned by Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting (owner of KSTP-TV, KS95, 1500AM and more) and was a pioneer in the use of Ku band satellites in the 1980s. They hoped to start a successful national cable channel like CNN with their new tools. A KSTP-TV personnel directory is visible inside the door on the other side of the truck.
The Newsuem has two operational news studios used for real programming. I was able to go into this one, which features one of the best vistas of the capitol available for television programming. ABC News This Week is frequently filmed here, along with other notable national news programs. The windows are polarized. Without this special coating, the sun’s rays would make it impossible to film part of the day — especially in the morning when This Week airs. Update: My uncle says the windows also likely have 85B color correction gel on them, causing a yellow tint to appear under normal lighting. When they turn the studio lights on, camera lenses will see normal coloration.
The Newseum’s 6th floor provided a nice view of the capitol.
Tom at the Newseum.
Outside the capitol.
Inside the capitol visitor center. The visitor center was constructed just a few years ago underneath the capitol lawn to accommodate all of the capitol’s visitors and is bigger than the capitol itself.
Each state is able to send two statues of influential people to be included at the capitol. This is one of Minnesota’s two statutes. It is of Maria Sanford, who became one of the first women professors at the University of Minnesota. She was influential in women’s rights and the right for African Americans to receive education.
Old Supreme Court chamber inside the capitol.
Old House of Representatives chamber inside the capitol. We were able to see the current House chamber, but cameras were not allowed inside it.
Inside the old House of Representatives chamber.
The capitol was full of statutes, including one of Rosa parks, front center. This is one of the newest statutes in the capitol.
A painting inside the capitol.
The Library of Congress is housed in a beautiful building. They have some really cool exhibits, including some presidential items. I thought it was interesting that their in-person research traffic has slowed significantly in recent years as they have put more resources online. While anyone can conduct research there in person, most people doing so are writing a PhD thesis. There were still many visitors there to see the building and exhibits.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Washington Monument
The Jefferson Memorial
When I think of Washington D.C. outside of politics and museums, I often think of row houses. These are some row houses near our hotel. They were very close together — making me very thankful for the larger lots we have in Minnesota.
We saw the two pandas at the National Zoo.
While the cherry blossoms weren’t out quite yet (the weather was cool), these magnolia blossoms were very pretty.
This part of the national mall lawn was pristine condition. It surprised me to also see parts of the lawn very torn up. I guess this area gets a lot of traffic between political demonstrations, tourists, and games of Frisbee.