Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
You’ve made your plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to become part of the historic moment when America swears in its 44th president, Barack Obama. While you’re in D.C., you’ll also want experience all the sights and history you’ll find. While it won’t be possible to everything in one trip – even people who have lived in D.C. for years say that they are not close having seen it all – you can still take time to see as much as you can. The best way to do that may be to create a theme vacation.
During your trip to Washington, D.C., consider making presidential affairs the theme of your vacation. Make the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History your first stop. Be forewarned that there will be crowds, but if you are purposeful in the exhibits you see, you’ll save time and have a great time, too.
The National Museum of American History is now featuring three excellent exhibits that complement your theme vacation. The first is the First Ladies exhibit, which chronicles the contributions of first ladies on our nation’s past. It also features an exquisite display of former first lady gowns. Complementing this exhibit is one that focuses on presidents. What is most dramatic is the wall of presidents at the start of the exhibit space. You walk along a wall of photographs of past presidents and are struck at the end with the poignancy of Barack Obama’s forthcoming tenure not only as the 44th president of the United States, but also as the first African American to hold that office. The National Museum also features a wonderful exhibit on the Constitution that is worth visiting.
The U.S. Capitol is another destination worthy of adding to your trip. Before Barack Obama was the president-elect, he was the Senator of Illinois. Take the tour of the Capitol building and walk through the same halls he did during his service. The best tours are the ones given by congressional interns. For these tours, call your state representative (your Senator) or the representative for your district (your member in the House of Representatives) and request one. Given the undoubtedly high demand expected, try to call as far in advance as you can. If you can’t book a tour with an intern, the capitol also offers professional tours led by knowledgeable docents as well.
This last item of your presidential affairs theme vacation can be done from anywhere. Even if you’re not in D.C., you need only travel to the nearest Hollywood movie house to see Frost/Nixon. The film is a remake of the events that transpired in the historic Frost/Nixon television interview during which former president Richard Nixon all but admitted his guilt and involvement in the Watergate scandal.