This week I was on a work trip to the Washington, D.C. area, and is my usual M.O., I decided to spend an extra day to do some sightseeing. Washington is unique in the variety of museums clustered close together. New York and London both have larger museums, and Paris has an unmatched collection of art, but only in D.C. can you walk half a mile and move from the National Archives and the founding documents of the country to the Hope Diamond, a forensic investigation of bones found in Fort James, and the C-3PO suit from Return of the Jedi. Nowhere else in the world is such a variety of stuff just packed together for public view, and it seems every time they renovate one of these places, things just keep getting better.
This time around, I most enjoyed reading some of the letters to the government that are in the National Archives. A little girl pleading with President Truman not to give Elvis a standard infantryman haircut, the northern Michigan town that wrote their letter on a sheet of copper, and the man who wished to assure the FCC that he was, in fact, not brought to the point of panic by Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast.
I also love looking at the edit marks on an early typeset draft of the Articles of Confederation. The editor had written "and Providence Plantations" next to Rhode Island, it looks like everyone forgets that part of the name. In one part line numbers had been added every five lines.
This trip to D.C. was also unique for me in another way. This was the first time I was here when it snowed. And this wasn't the kind of namby-pamby will it stick or won't it kind of snow. This was the roll around in it, have a snowball fight and there will still be an unbroken blanket of white streching over everything kind of snow. So I didn't visit Lincoln this time around, but the views from top floors of the museums were amazing.