The Smithsonian

The trouble with the Smithsonian Institution is that it simply has way too much stuff on display. Every time I visit Washington, DC I head over to one or more of its museums and galleries to take in as much as I can. And every time the Smithsonian gleefully kicks me in the butt! And yet I always go back for more. I think if I ever retire I’ll need to move to DC just so I can take time to explore every inch of its exhibit space. And then I’ll do it all again. And the best part? It’s all free!

Advertisements
Read Article →

Springfield Armory NHS

Every now and again you come across a memorial where you feel that it should offer something more than it actually does. Such a place is Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Springfield, MA. This place looks like it should really be worth visiting, and yet it’s not nearly as interesting as it ought to be. If the park service’s goal was to make guns seem boring, they’ve succeeded.

Read Article →

From Manassas to Appomattox Court House

I wanted to say something about Appomattox Court House, but that also brings up the strange tale of Wilmer McLean. One of the most amazing things I learned when, as a new American, I started investigating the history of the Civil War was the story of Mr. McLean. He supposedly often told people that the American Civil War started in his front yard and ended in his front parlor. And in a sense, he was right.

Read Article →

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is a pretty popular name in America. Depending on which source you look up, you’ll find between 20 and 24 towns and municipalities called Mount Vernon all over the States. And there are hundreds of streets named Mount Vernon—including the one I live on. The popularity of this name isn’t hard to figure out: It comes from the fact that Mount Vernon was, and remains, the name of George Washington’s plantation home. It’s where he lived. And it’s still around today.

Read Article →