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Khirad On December - 6 - 2010

Back in DC, a day out at the National Museum of American History.

One of the first things I encountered on the first floor was an America on the road exhibit, a sweep across the USA.

Here’s a street scene from Portland, Oregon circa 1949 with the iconic Fred Meyer sign in the background. There would also be Tucson bits after that; as if the floor plan was mimicking my own personal journey.

Julia Child’s kitchen.

No George the God, I’m actually left-handed.

Jackie O’s inaugural gown, 1961.

I’ll let the next couple speak for themselves.

They had Jackson’s and Custer’s too, but I still like 18th century British uniforms best.

A little Berlin Wall, because it was one of the defining moments in my life. As a member of the (disputed separate) generation stuck between the X’s and the Y’s, this, and the first Iraq War were pretty pivotal, even if we may not have completely understood what was happening. Can you believe it? I’m different than those even five to ten years younger than me in that I actually have vivid, living memory of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain. That’s what the GOP still doesn’t get about their little Red Scare rhetoric. It means practically nothing to those in their early twenties.

Whereas, to the generation after me, this will be their defining moment even more than the rest of us – unless personally affected. These columns were taken from the 70th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Flügelhorn of Miles Davis.

Archie Bunker’s throne.

Kermit, just looking relieved not to have a hand up his butt.

Click your heels.

This is the front façade of the new exhibit for the Star Spangled Banner. I obviously couldn’t take pictures inside, but it looks sorta like this, only way more dramatic. I don’t normally find my patriotism in the flag, but this is one time where I literally got choked up at the flag, as people of all ages spontaneously started singing the Star Spangled Banner, with everyone, even me quietly, joining in.

Lincoln’s top hat he was wearing when he was shot. The band around it is a mourning band of black silk, which he wore for Willie. By the way, I totally want to bring back the top hat, and hats in general – even if I’ve never really been able to pull off more that a ball cap.

Lincoln’s pocket watch, which has an interesting story. Speaking fashion, the pocket watch is something which I actively try to bring back.  It’s so much more grand to whip out a pocket watch than a cell to check the time, no? After all, that is what the little pocket inside your front jeans pocket was made for.

President Clinton’s alto.

Chelsea’s ballerina shoes.

Watergate filing cabinet that was broken into.

The gavel which acting Speaker Pro Tempore Ray LaHood (who knew?) pounded to vote on Clinton’s articles of impeachment, also shown.

I just find this sort of thing interesting. An interactive poll of museum goers in what amounts to little more than a popularity contest.

Personally, I’d vote this guy before Reagan.

And honestly, the streets and schools we name after some of them.

Exiting the building the first sight you see.

The National Archives (should I not get to this later).

Had Christine O’Donnell only walked past this.

This is the FTC building, but someone help me out with identifying this bulky style of sculpture.

Oh, Canada! I’ll never forget the Royal Mounted Police saluting in front of this building during Obama’s inaugural parade (also, note the finials on the street lamps).

United States Navy Memorial. I never thought much about this at the time, but currently, I’m, well, thinking still — and don’t want anyone talking me out of it… (was that cryptic enough?)

A view of the city from the window near the elevator of the hotel.

And from the room itself.

After I got back home to Tucson, it was almost hard to fall asleep without all the honking and sirens. But no worries, I’m not done with this series yet.

10 Responses so far.

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  1. escribacat says:

    Another fascinating series, K. I got chills when I looked at Lincoln’s tophat. Wow. And I’ve always thought those redcoats must have looked pretty silly grubbing around on the battlefield wearing such finery. Or maybe it was just the officers standing to the side on the horses who wore those?

    • Khirad says:

      I also had a picture of Lincoln’s death mask.

      Yeah, this was obviously an officer, and most foot soldier’s reds would have faded. Not all British soldiers wore red, though. How many knew rangers’ and loyalists’ wore green?

  2. choicelady says:

    The style of sculpture on the FTC building is a derivation of German Expressionist or Symbolist -- same “school” as the work of Rockwell Kent. Very much a part of Art Deco, but not design so much as politics. All carefully hidden, of course, but whoever did this probably came a cropper with McCarthy. Bold, brawny working people were clear evidence the artist was a Commie. Right? If Sarah gets in, this is history.

    Thank you Khirad -- I love DC, and you’ve found some of the small details that make it so fascinating. I love your photos and appreciate your sharing the trip with us.

    • Khirad says:

      Yeah, I was thinking it looked Expressionist. Dunno why, but it just stuck out at me from the other more standard styles on Federal buildings.

      And working people?


      By the chalkboard Kevin Bacon logic of Glenn Beck -- working people -- sculpture -- art -- painting -- Diego Rivera -- Communist!

  3. bito says:

    Thanks, Khirad, another wonderful pic-trip bringing back many memories.

    I would venture a guess on the sculpture as being from the depression era. Reminds me of much of the WPA work.

    Mens dress hats sales are up 40-60%, after seeing a decline starting in the Kennedy era. Now, why did I sell my dad’s dress hats last year? 🙂

    • Khirad says:

      I’ll bet anything Mad Men is behind rising hat sales.

      And yes, the building was completed in 1938, putting it in the WPA time frame.

      Choice Lady was correct, it is by Michael Lantz, an Art Deco sculptor. I guess I still associate Art Deco more with straight, blocky lines, but it fits.

  4. kesmarn says:

    Well, this was certainly a nice surprise to wake up to! Danke schön, again, Khirad. (Notice that I have mastered umlauts? 😉 )

    Loved the Christine O’Donnell comment! 😆 Nothing like her being completely ignorant of something displayed in gigantic letters on the side of a building in the city she hoped to dazzle!

    Costumes and gowns! I love them!

    Like a true mom — and taking note of your wish not to be talked out of it — I will only ask you to please — please — think long and hard about joining the Navy. Do you not have rare gifts that might be more useful in another arena? OK ‘Nuff said.

    Yours truly,


    • Khirad says:

      Congrats on the umlauts!

      Like a dweeb I sort of cracked myself up thinking up that O’Donnell thing. I literally imagine her walking right under it not noticing it.

      Your motherly (and CL’s un-motherly 😉 ) advice has been taken into consideration. It is not something I am weighing lightly. I’m doing a lot of research.

      • kesmarn says:

        😆 …And even if O’Donnell had noticed the words on the building and had stood there with her cute little brow furrowed in puzzlement as she slowly made them out, would she have recognized their source? I think not..

        On the military issue…I just remember a family member mulling this option some years ago as a possibility for getting a paid-for college education. It was peace time and it looked so promising. I urged her to wait and think, and about two months later GHW Bush declared the Gulf War. She would likely have been pulled into it. That was a “whew!” moment. She got her degree without military assistance then, after all. Will light the candle for you as you weigh the pros and cons. Also, will try to do what “good moms” do and butt out!

    • choicelady says:

      Seconded from someone who is NOT a mom but would care very much that you stay safe. That said, my father was in the Coast Guard during WW II and served well. He came through just fine -- but his sister ship was blown up with all hands other than 10 who were ashore at the time. So think this over! Life is hard enough without putting yourself in harm’s way.

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