Oh the things you see in Smithsonians

Wizard of Oz cameraThe upside of January when the touring season is slow and we’re looking for something to do is seeing the Smithsonian museums.

The museums are largely empty and I recently found a parking space two straight days within sight of the door. No way that happens come March.

I’m toying with writing a book on interesting things to see in the Smithsonians because it’s the No. 1 question by tourists. I haven’t been in many of them in years so I’m going through the 16 in town while awaiting the African American museum when it opens later this year.

So I started with my favorite – American History. I just wandered from room to room to see what sparked my interest when I came across the photo above. The movie camera that filmed “The Wizard of Oz.” Today, your cell phone does what this enormous machine did back in 1937.

My favorite part was the presidential displays. John Quincy Adams’ chess set, Bill Clinton’s sax and Ike’s gold clubs were cool. The Union draft wheel, Julia Child’s kitchen and Rosie the Riveter are must see displays, too.

Washingtonians don’t spend much time in the museums. After all, we’re not the ones on vacation. But Monumental Thoughts will spend some time inside for the next month or so. You never know what we’ll see.

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