|Blue Morpho and Postman alight on N. as he examines a third butterfly.|
After leaving the chaos of the Museum of Natural History we crossed the Mall for the calm of the Freer-Sackler Gallery, where we showed N. the pieces from their beautiful Whistler collection that are on display and Whistler's Peacock Room, which N. loved.
The next day was devoted to an exhibit that N. has long been anticipating: the America on the Move show at the National Museum of American History. His main goal was to see the Southern Railway #1401 steam locomotive, and he was pleasantly surprised to find two additional earlier steam engines on display as well. Having visited many more transportation museums in the past seven years that I ever would have imagined before becoming the mother of a passionate railfan, I was very impressed with this exhibit. It situates all the trains, cars, trucks, etc. contextually, creating scenes that help you understand the ways these objects functioned in real historical people's lives. Also at the American History museum we looked at an amazing doll house (which N. loved!), historic string instruments, a statue of George Washington and an exhibit about the 200-year history of a house in Massachusetts (interesting but overwhelming).
Finally, the third day, we drove out to the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport in Virginia. This far exceeded our expectations and we had a great time viewing historic aircraft (I was especially pleased by a collection of objects from the eighteenth-century Balloonomania!) and the newly arrived Space Shuttle Discovery! Seeing the Enola Gay and Discovery in one day was quite thought-provoking.
We're so glad my parents live in D.C. so we can gradually work our way through the riches of the Smithsonians and other sights with them each visit!
Bonus reading: previous trips we've made to Washington, D.C. here and here.