#dcnovaadventures Smithsonian American History Museum

With my parents in town we made our way to the Smithsonian American History Museum. They had never been, and we hadn’t checked it out in awhile. They have done some changes in their displays since we’ve been, and it was neat to see what they had changed up.

Places of Invention and American Enterpise

The Places of Invention and American Enterprise sections were new to me and had some really cool things. Within those exhibits you can trace Advertising across the decades – from radio to television ads and other things that trace American democracy and capitalism through the decades. There was a docent on hand who happened to be talking about the Altair 8800 and went into more detail about the period of history. That is what I love about the Smithsonians!

The First Ladies

The First Ladies section has been a mainstay of the museum, and they have added the additions of Michelle Obama and Melania. Melania’s dress in person, from the inauguration, is hands down the most exquisite thing I’ve ever seen. Michelle’s which I was absolutely nuts for in photographs and on the tv screen, didn’t translate well in person. Fashion like that is always fascinating to me. Dresses on hangers can look terrible until you put it on. Hillary Clinton’s Inauguration dress is also a top favorite for me, and she looked gorgeous in it. Some of my daughter’s favorites included Jackie Kennedy’s pale yellow State Dinner dress and this beautiful one shoulder sequin dress worn by Nancy Reagan.

Music and Innovation

The Smithsonian also added a small jazz section where they housed instruments from famous jazz and regular musicians, like Poncho Sanchez and Willie Smith. Hang around for a meal and head to the Jazz Cafe, where you can enjoy a bite to eat while listening to jazz.

   

Super Heroes

The Super Heroes collection showcases the evolution of super heroes through the decades, showcasing comic books and various memorabilia including Captain America’s Shield and Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman Costume. Of course you can also get your photo next to Val Kilmer’s Batmobile! This Exhibit runs through January 12, 2020.

In ‘American Stories’ you can see a part of Plymouth Rock, check out Apolo Ohno’s speed skates and Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves. Moving pieces of the exhibit include a living mask of Abraham Lincoln and the video camcorder that caught the first plane going into the Twin Towers. This exhibit will be rotating and will take the opportunity to share different pieces that represent our American history – from well known pieces to lesser known like ornate Firefighter hats from the 1700/1800s. I like this exhibit particularly because it contains a wide variety of artifacts from those with typical historical appeal to old toys and pieces from many time periods all in one space. Items that you might not typically see all in one place.

Another new exhibit that we didn’t have time to get to was called ‘American Democracy: A Leap of Faith. This exhibits shows us items that highlight the fight for democracy and the path to achieving it, including everyday citizen’s and their participation. It looks really neat and I can’t wait to get back to check it out.

As always, this is a hit for families, and my kids (especially the older two who are 13 and 11) really enjoyed it. It also really highlights a lot that Washington DC has to offer visitors in one place because of the variety of items displayed and significance of the items (with the crowing glory being the Star Spangled Banner).

I think living here we can sometimes take these museums for granted, maybe we visit once or when family comes into town. But the exhibits change frequently and you might miss something really cool. The free museums in our area are truly incredible, and while going into the city might be a frustrating prospect to some, its something that is so worth it in my opinion.

happy learning!

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5 Unique Gift Ideas for Christmas

  1. Magazine subscription – I love this one and have used it for my kids before. Its super fun and is like a present every month! I’ve even given a subscription to my mom as a gift before. Did you know that Amazon has discounted magaizine subscription links? You can also get Kindle versions of the magazines as well. I’ve linked some of my favorites below:

2. Subscription boxes with activities – These are super fun, because like activities, it is something exciting every                                  month! Whether you have a little baker, an artist or a scientist, subscription boxes are a great way to keep your kids                            learning for fun!

3. Activities – This is a fun one too, and one we have used before to gift our children special activies like Parkour classes                       for our oldest, and archery for our daughter. Find something they need for that class and use that as an opportunity to                         a) buy it and gift it (I mean, lets face it, you have to buy it anyway. Make it feel more exciting by wrapping it in a box),                           and b) a fun way to let them know they get to do said activity!

                     Ideas – soccer ball and shin guards for soccer classes, ballet bag for ballet                                     classes, special leotard for gymnastics, bow and arrow for archery classes.

4. Keep It Simple – Another way to keep it simple and keep yourself focused is something my mom has done for years.                          Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. Keeps you focused and doesn’t                        let you get out of hand. Make it a theme!! If you have a kind into Harry Potter, add the illustrated version to your                                    bookshelf this Christmas and include these Harry Potter socks, Harry Potter Lego set and find something in the need                         category that might be themed like school supplies, or something like that!

5. A Trip – Sometimes an event or a trip during Christmas, or a gift right after Christmas is a perfect opportunity to teach                         kids about saving, and how to make an exchange. We aren’t going to spend a bunch of money on toys are stuff like                             that. Instead, we are going to spend money on this amazing trip. I have a friend who is going on a Disney Cruise for                            Christmas. Next year I hope to be in Europe right before Christmas so that will be a part of our gift.

Christmas can be such a great time, but can easily fall into being all about THINGS! We have such an amazing opportunity to bring more to our children, and show them how things don’t always have to be the same. Sometimes its about toys and silly things, because there’s a lot of Christmas magic in that. But, sometimes, its about memories and the experiences.

Do you give unique or interesting gifts at Christmas? I’d love to hear about them!

 

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30 Movies to Watch With Your Kids {if You Were Born in the 80’s}

There’s two reasons why I share movies from when I was a kid, or movies I loved as a kid, with my own children; 1) movies today kind of suck for kids and 2) I’m a sentimental person. Sharing stuff that I loved as a kid with my own is pretty awesome! Movies today feel totally inappropriate for the age they are marketed to, and often there are things that I just plain don’t like. Is it just me or are all parents dumb now too? And not the Tim Taylor, Danny Tanner kind of dumb, where the parents actually end of being right and the kids come around and end up being respectful. No, parents today are the kind of dumb where they are stay dumb, do dumb things and the kids are the smartest ones in the room. Pass!

This list composes not only movies from my childhood, family movies we watched when I was a little bit older and my sister was young, and movies from my mom’s childhood that we watched as kids. Many of these movies aren’t as flashy as today’s flicks but they are none the less important ones I feel like the next generation needs to have in their lives!

Man of the House

Angels in the Outfield

The Adventures of Huck Finn

Mighty Ducks

That Darn Cat

The Sandlot

Back to the Future (Probably best meant for older kids, includes Adult Content. Common Sense Media Review)

Jurrasic Park (Common Sense Media Review)

Richie Rich

First Kid

Spy Next Door

Home Alone

Jumanji

Men in Black (Common Sense Media Review)

The Parent Trap (we prefer the original)

The Little Rascals

Space Jam

Casper

The Secret Garden

The Little Princess

Galaxy Quest

Flubber (Original and new versions)

Shaggy Dog

The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!

The Santa Claus

Davy Crockett

Charlie the Lonesome Cougar

Spy Kids

A Kid in King Arthur’s Court

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