Monday, February 07, 2011

John's Birthday

John's birthday was on a Saturday, so it was a perfect opportunity to take another sight-seeing venture into Washington DC.  Again, we took the metro.  After our friend's car got stolen at the metro station we've been a little leery of parking there, but we bought one of those steering wheel bars and decided to risk it (yes, the car was there when we got back.  Whew!).

The first place we went was the African-American Civil War Museum.  That was quite a disappointment.  It was being temporarily housed in the U Street YMCA, which turned out to be just as interesting as the African-American Civil War Museum. I think because the museum was in temporary quarters, they were down to what they could squeeze into one room.  Then a large group came in and we couldn't really see around much.  The YMCA (which is now a museum on the ground floor and offices on the other floors) was the first YMCA built for black men.  It was a beautiful building and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  This is a room set up exactly as one of the rooms for the  men would have been.  As most YMCA's back then, this Y offered classes in business skills, Bible classes, and tutoring in school subjects as well as warm, safe, dry rooms.


From there we went back to the metro station.  On the way we walked by this house.  Do you have any idea why the porch ceiling is painted like that?  When I taught school in North Carolina, the kids were always talking about "haints".  I finally had to ask what a haint was and found out it is a ghost or a restless spirit.  Then I discovered that many porch roofs, house walls, or shutters are painted blue which is supposed to keep away the haints.  You can read more about it here.  Anyway, I believe that this porch ceiling is painted like this to keep away haints.

Back at the metro station we spent time at the African-American Civil War Memorial, which really was worth seeing.  There is a statue depicting black men who served in the different branches of the Armed services during the civil war.  You may have thought there was a handful of men who did so, but, according to the curator of the museum, 10% of the Army and 25% of the Navy were African-American.  There are two walls with about three layers of names of African-American soldiers who served during the Civil War.  It was really amazing and a good thing for us all to remember.  This part of town is not where most of the touristy stuff is, but it's worth a trip out of your way to visit this monument and see the historic U street district.

From there we got back on the metro and rode down to the center of DC where we visited the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) museum and period rooms. The museum itself wasn't all that interesting, but the period rooms are well worth a visit.  For free a member of the DAR will take you on a tour of each of the period rooms....rooms in a typical American home in the fashion of a set period of time. Each state sets up a room.  I forget which state set this room up, but it is a typical Victorian style. You can see how dark and over-decorated it is.  This is the Texas room and may have been my favorite. It would have been from a simple room in the late 1800's or early 1900's.  And I LOVED the library!  The library is full of books about the history and records of every state and county in the USA.  Many people come here to do research on the history of an area or to research their roots.  The DAR building also has a hall that can be rented for weddings or big events.  This room reminds me of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

As we headed back to the metro station we went past the White House.  Of course, the Obamas saw us out in the cold and invited us in for a cup of hot chocolate!

When we got back to Lanham,we went out for supper....TexMex, the watched a boring movie, Enchanted April.  I kind of liked it, but John hated it.  But all in all, it was a good day.

1 comment:

podso said...

Thanks for a good tour!