This morning I set out to go to the Museum of American History, a place I've wanted to visit for a couple decades now. I remember reading when I was young that there was actual tea from the Boston Tea Party displayed there; while I could find no such tea on display, I was able to purchase a can of bulk tea of the same type at the Museum Store.
My reaction after having visited? Underimpressed. Not unimpressed by any stretch, but underimpressed. Maybe I expected too much after building it up in my head for so many years, but most of the time my thoughts were "this is cool" but not much beyond that. I mean, yes, I saw a half-union ($50 gold coin) pattern, a 1974 aluminum cent pattern, a Brasher doubloon, a Pine Tree Shilling, a Continental dollar, and some other numismatic treasures, but they were in a room barely over 100 square feet.
Archie and Edith's chairs were there, as was an elephant car from the original Dumbo ride at Disneyland. A recovered Revolutionary War gunboat, the Greek-style statue of Washington--those were cool. I set off an alarm when I reached out and touched a Vietnam-era Huey.
Know what was odd? The dresses of the First Ladies. Some of them looked so blase' there in their cases, you had to wonder why anyone, expecially a First Lady, would wear such a thing. And then you see the recent ones--and you think the same thing! It's only when you see the pictures of the recent First Ladies in the dresses that you see that the dresses actually look nice, certainly much nicer than they do hanging there on headless mannequins.
The Fort McHenry flag was very impressive, but you know what stirred the most emotion in me? The actual Woolworth's lunch counter. Yes, that lunch counter.