So I’ve been back from DC for more than a week but just now getting around to wrapping things up here. Our last day in DC was dedicated to two museums: the Newseum and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
The Newseum is one of the reasons I wanted to go to DC. As a former news reporter who initially planned on a long career in that field, a museum dedicated to news is … indescribably exciting. From my early teen years I have loved news and newspapers so to be a in place dedicated to the history and impact of the industry was better than cool! And it totally lived up to my expectations and then some. We actually had to skip some things because we wanted to save enough time for the Air & Space Museum. I could have easily spent the entire day there.
I kinda gave Hubby a hard time about stopping at all the little theatre areas and watching the movies, but they actually turned out to be several of the coolest things I took from the experience. We watched one on how reporters are portrayed in Hollywood/movies, and they went way back to black-in-white movies where the reporters wore the old-school press hat to more modern films and clips specifically showing how female reporters are portrayed. Another short film talked about the impact of the media on the Civil Rights Movement. Both of them were quite enjoyable and made you think.
One of the neatest things was the Sept. 11 area. On the wall were the front pages of major U.S. and world newspapers from that day. The film in that area interviewed reporters who were there as it was happening and who gathered the initial people stories and images. They also have on display the timeline of Associated Press news bulletins from that morning, capturing just how fast everything happened. The timeline circles around the actual broadcast antenna that was on top of one of the towers.
They had several cool areas — like a make your own newscast area — that we had to skip because we were running out of time if we wanted to have enough time at the Air & Space Museum. The unfortunate part of that is, I found the Air & Space Museum kinda mediocre. Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen a lot of space hardware and memorabilia since coming to NASA, or perhaps it just wasn’t that exciting. Or maybe a mix of the two. Hubby had been to the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center the week before and said that after being at both that the Udvar-Hazy displays were more impressive than Air & Space in downtown DC.
For me, there was too much information. I wanted to see cool stuff, read a placard of information and then see the next cool thing. Most exhibits were more detailed than I prefer and some exhibits didn’t tell me anything. Too, my NASA experiences certainly put a damper on parts of it. Seeing a Skylab mock-up, for example; I’ve been there done that at the mock-up at Johnson Space Center. Seeing spacesuits and Apollo capsules — same thing. I can see those at work or pretty closeby. The one mildly impressive thing was the Hubble stuff, primarily because the final mission to Hubble was going on as I was in the museum. At one point I looked at the NASA Twitter feed and saw that the astronauts were removing a certain component from Hubble, and I was, at that moment, reading about when that component was added. So the Hubble stuff was interesting because it was so timely.
We flew out very early Sunday morning and were home by lunchtime. The boys were quite happy to be home and eager for their souvenirs. It was amazing to me how quickly we all fell right back into step as if we’d never been gone.
All in all, we had a good time, both being away from normal life for a few days and sightseeing in the nation’s capital. The boys were good for my mom and sister making me feel more comfortable about planning such parents-only getaways in the future. Nothing too soon, but we’re eyeing Hawaii for later this year.