Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What is an American?

Today Trent and I actually got off our lazy bums, and headed down to the newly renovated American History Museum in DC. I have been wanting to check it out for the past few years, but it's been under renovation for what felt like ages, so I was excited to finally see it in its full glory.

And what a full glory it is! I am, admittedly, a history buff. I think I get it from my dad- he told me that when he was 17, he did a summer at GWU, and spent 17 hrs over a period of 2 days in the American History museum!! I am so jealous, I wish I had that much time in there, as there's so much to see.

I love seeing artifacts from other times, and learning and re-learning about the history of the world. But I especially love American History. Although at times I might feel a little disappointed with current state of the average "American", visiting this museum today made really proud of this country and the people who accomplished it all. I realized that not everyone can be a true American; it takes a certain sassiness, a certain drive to really be American. For example, I laughed at a tea pot from the 18th Century that had "No Stamp Act" painted on it- this is so American! Take that, proprietous English tea pot! :)

I am also deeply moved by Abraham Lincoln, and the things he accomplished, even though his time as president was short. He seemed like such an awe-worthy individual, despite looking slightly creepy in a couple photographs. And I love that he was 6'4", which was massive at that time. I mean, I looked at half the men's clothing on display, and they'd barely have fit me! What is the deal, why are people so much taller these days? Evolution much?

We saw the "Star Spangled Banner", the original flag that flew when Francis Scott Key was held prisoner at Fort McHenry. It is a marvel that it still exists, what with its busy life. The family who had it for almost a century were so proud of it, that they'd display it outdoors at times, and often give "snippings" of it as souvenirs to people, hence the reason half of it is gone. Yikes I know! But I remember seeing this flag when I was a little girl- it would be revealed once every hour or so, and then they'd cover it back up. Then, in 1998, they decided the flag was so weak that it couldn't be hung anymore. So, they had to spend time restoring it, and putting it in some chamber where it lays down now. The conservation process looked massive, but totally amazing- I really want to be a conservator! Can you imagine being part of the preservation of such fantastic artifacts?

Another remarkable thing (as frankly there were so many, that I'd be here for days if I were to tell all the things I loved), was the exhibit on Edison, and his light bulb. Although Trent may beg to differ (he argues that Edison unfairly ruined Tesla, a claim I will have to research further), I am really grateful for Edison. Can you imagine where we'd be without the light bulb? Holy cow! I just don't understand how so many centuries went by with people relying on the light from a flame. If we never got the light bulb, imagine how little would've been currently accomplished- probably 1% of what we've done. And, I might have gone slightly mental from having to constantly light candles. :)

So, in conclusion, I think visiting this museum has only reinforced my hope of what heaven will be like: A disclosure of all things unknown. I want all those "guess I'll never really know" inquiries to be fully answered, and I want to meet all these amazing people from our history, and the WWWWH of it all. I really hope that's what it's like, as I could care less for the tropical island and juicy pears lol.

Oh and can I just say how inspiring the whole city of D.C. is?

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I was there in October and was so sad we didn't get to spend more time there. Truely amazing. Yep, just like you I'm totally a history geek!