The National Museum of American History

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by grannola on October 9, 2006

The 4-year-old again dictated where we should go. We had to go here to see Kermit the Frog. Of course, this museum kept us going much longer than we had anticipated.

As Canadian's we didn't realize how interesting the American History Museum was going to be. The kids liked the transportation exhibit that started from ships, to the first car to travel across the US, to buses, to airplanes. There were lots of things to see and touch. They liked the transportation of food display and the Chicago El Train. This took up a full wing of the main floor.

Downstairs we found Julia Child's kitchen, where there was a video playing with Julia's wit and wisdom. It was conveniently located across the hall from the hands-on science exhibit where the kids got to do real science experiments (about food additives in our case). They had to get tickets (which were free) to reserve a spot. This meant waiting for about 1/2hour. That was fine with them because there were lots of self-serve experiments there too.

The polio exhibit was interesting, especially when we learned that Candy Land had been invented by someone who was in an iron lung at the time. Up on the top floor we found Kermit and his friends, and lots of other TV memorabilia (like Fonzie's jacket and Archie Bunker's Chair).

The flags on display were very impressive. Inside the main hall on the 2nd floor is the Pentagon Flag. That's the flag that was draped over the outside of the Pentagon the day after September 11th. Also, in a restoration chamber is Old Glory. It is huge and has undergone major restoration. It is not 'repaired' per se, but it has been restored so it does not further deteriorate. There were also displays on science, computers, and chess that the 8-year-old enjoyed.

We skipped several exhibits because we just didn't have time to see everything. We were at the museum for over 4 hours and could have stayed longer, but we wanted to see more than one museum on our trip. I bought a sweater in the gift shop and we realized that the zipper was stuck on it. We exchanged it for another sweater without a problem.

The museum was open from 10am to 6pm (winter hours are 10am to 5pm). There were several exhibits that were closed when we were there because they were getting ready to renovate. There were several places where you could tell renovations were due (cracked ceilings etc). The whole museum closed for renovations just after our visit and it is scheduled to reopen in 2008.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
14th Street And Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
(202) 357-1300

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