Earlier this week, I visited Washington, D. C. Again. And I had a wonderful time. With a few exceptions, I usually have a great time whenever I go to Washington. I’ve been on or making semi-regular trips to Washington, D. C. since grade school. The vast majority of them occurred with my family. A couple were for school or with friends, and a few were solo or duo trips. Even after I moved away from home, trips back almost always included a train or car ride down to Washington, specifically to the National Mall and the Smithsonian museums. The National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the host of other lesser-known museums that make up what most people simply call “The Smithsonian.”
While portions of this tourist district haven’t changed in thirty years, the institutions and monuments that stand there have. New memorials have been erected, new events take place almost every day on that long, grassy area between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument, but most of all, the Smithsonian museums have become active. Yes, they’ve always been active centers bustling with people, but now they serve to promote active history rather than showcase dead things and objects behind glass. It’s an amazing transformation, and one that’s very heartening to witness. It also makes me very happy to see that, after all these years, this area continues to attract crowds by the millions.