Monday, May 23, 2016

A Trip To The Nation's Capital

We spent the mid part of last week in our Nation's Capital.  We were attending a meeting of the American College of Radiology.  Therefore, did not get to see a lot of the Washington, DC sights.  Our whole family was with us because "Papaw" was receiving a Gold Medal from the College.   While we attended meetings, the other members of the family did get to sightsee around and see most of the major sites.

There were several dinner events to attend with our group. At each event I loved the beautiful centerpiece floral arrangements on each table.  I took my point and shoot camera and captured photos of these lovely flowers.

Someone worked hard creating these beautiful arrangement bouquets.

The family attended a Brunch for the Gold Medalists and ACR Members.  In the foyer of the Presidential Suite where the brunch was held was this beautiful display of after brunch sweets.  I thought the doughnut tower intermixed with candy flowers was so pretty and enticing.  My daughter Sharon and I,  along with a friend were admiring this display.  Of course I had to capture this enticing array of goodies with my camera.

In the below photo, someone passing by was good enough to take a photo of all of us shortly before the Gold Medal Ceremony began.  Only one set of family members could not attend.  

Below we see our 5 daughters, their husbands and our grandchildren.  Two of our daughters and their  families on the left side in the photo live in Tallahassee ... The other three daughters and families on the right live, one in Lexington, KY,  one in Stuart, FL and one in Davie, FL.  Can you just imagine how thrilling it was to have all of us together.

We were so glad all of our family was able to sightsee all around Washington, DC and see so many of the sights.  They navigated around the city using the Metro.  From what they tell us, that surely is the way to economically travel around the city,  and a fun experience too.

Just in case you ever wish to visit Washington, DC,  and if you wish to know more about the Metro,  you can click on the link below to see more information.

When our meeting was over we did have one day to sightsee around.  Granddaughter Elly especially wanted to visit the National Museum of Natural History, with the thought in mind of visiting "The Hall of Dinosaurs,"  and especially the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Seen below is the entrance to the Natural History Museum.  This museum has a collection of over 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts.

           This is the most visited of all the Smithsonian museums with over 8 million visitors a year.

In the below photo we are looking directly across the street from the Natural History Museum and we see another interesting looking building ... I just had to snap a photo of Old Glory blowing in the cool breeze ... Always a pretty sight to see.

As we walk into the foyer of the Natural History Museum I was 
fascinated to see this Easter Island moai statue seen in the below photo.

I have heard of Easter Island and these statues for years and could not believe I was actually standing next to one.  The sign above tells information about these statues.  This particular statue was transported from Easter Island to Washington in 1887.  They say this statue is one of the most photographed objects in the Museum.

Below we see a photo of existing moai statues on Easter Island. They say this Island is one of the most remote islands in the world.  It is considered one of the Polynesian islands and was probably first populated around 700 AD.

There are still 887 moai statues still in existence on the Island.  Easter Island is now a World Heritage Site where research is still ongoing.

Just in case you were wondering where Easter Island is located ... that is, if you are like me and did not know,  you can see a tiny dot to the left of South America on the map below and there it is.

The below photo is from the Internet

Also displayed in the lobby of the Natural History Museum we saw 
this huge Totum Pole seen in the below photo.

This totem pole on display depicts the same type to totem pole found at the Tsimshian House in Port Simson, British Columbia, Canada.  Totem poles are huge decorative carvings from large trees, mostly western red cedar,  by tribes of the Pacific Northwest coast,  and Canada's western province of British Columbia.

Totem poles serve as important illustrations of family lineage and cultural heritage.  They also depict family legends, animals, people, or historical events of these Pacific Northwest native people.

This particular totem pole we saw in the Museum was huge.  As you can see from the above photo it extended all the way up through the stairway of the second, and on into the third floor of the Museum.

Tsimshian House in Port Simson, British Columbia, Canada

Located on the first floor, in the middle of the rotunda room we see this very large African Elephant.  His name is "Henry."  No one seems to know how he came to have that name.   Henry is 14-feet-tall and weighs 12-tons.

Checking with Mr. Google I found that "Henry" is the "Biggest Elephant Ever Killed By Man."  A Hungarian big-game-hunter and engineer hunted this elephant on his ranch in Angola and later donated him to the Natural History Museum.  We find also that it took Smithsonian taxidermists sixteen months to prepare Henry for display.  Poor Henry!

I did find it heart warming to see that those studying African Elephants discovered that a raised trunk was an elephant greeting to friends.  Henry has been greeting friends since he came to the museum in 1959.

While I was standing in the foyer of the Museum looking at "Henry" my sweet grandson came up and gave me a hug ... His mother snapped a photo right at that moment.  I was feeling sorry for poor ole Henry, but Will came along and made me feel better.  He is 16 and already a head taller than I am.  Love this grandson!  And, all the others too.

Granddaughter Elly and several of the other grandchildren enjoyed seeing Henry, 
but were very anxious to move on and find the the Dinosaurs.

In the below photo we see the Tyrannosaurus rex 35-foot long skeleton.  From what I can find out he was discovered in Montana in 1988.  This poor ole guy is said to have died by a river-bed about 66 million years ago.

This is the skull bone of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

And this is a skeleton of a Triceratops.
He is said to be about 65-million-years-old.

And, in the below photo this looked to be a skeleton of a water creature of some sort  ... I did not see any information on this fella.  I'm sure it was there, but somehow missed it.

One of the special items to see in this Museum is the beautiful Hope Diamond.  It is located in the National Gem and Mineral Collection of this same Museum of Natural History.   Well! Can you believe this exhibit had a sign on the door that the exhibit was temporarily closed.  One of our daughters had visited this exhibit the previous day and had showed me her photos of this beautiful piece of jewelry.

She was kind enough to share her photo with me so I could share it here on this post.
Below we see the photo she took of this exquisite diamond.

And in the below photo I was able to find another photo on the Natural Museum site.  

This amazing Hope Diamond has a very long and interesting history dating back to 1673.  This stone was originally thought to have been mined in India and was much larger in size.  The stone is one of the most famous jewels in the world and is 45.52 carats.

As you can see this photo compares the Hope Diamond size to the size of a penny.
This diamond is said to have formed within the earth approximately 1.1 billion years ago.

Photo from the Internet

With a very long history,  this diamond eventually was added to a gem collection owned by a London banking family by the name of Hope.  It passed through several more owners and was eventually bought by an American heiress in the United States.  She added the current setting.  An American jeweler bought the diamond and donated it to the Smithsonian in 1958.  The diamond is priceless, but is reported to be insured for $250 million.

The Hope Diamond is now surrounded by 16 white diamonds and hangs on a chain of 45 diamonds.

Photo from the Internet

Next we walked past a section called Nature's Best Photography, Best of the Best Photos.  Needless to say this section caught my eye immediately.

Just in case you are a good photographer and are interested in submitting your great photo for the Smithsonian Photography Award Section you can click on the link below:

They were showing a slide-show of Nature's Best Photography. They say these photos were selected from nearly 500,000 images submitted by photographers from around the globe.  With my little point and shoot camera I snapped several of these prize-winning photos seen below:

If you have ever visited Sweet Southern Days in the past you know how I love to take pictures.  So, it was a special treat for me to see all of these excellent prize winning photos.

There were many more photos to be seen, but it was time for our group to move on.  We could have stayed at this Museum for hours and hours.  And, there are many more interesting Museums in Washington, DC.  Yes, I think we could have stayed for a month and not seen everything.

Old Ebbit Grill
675 15th St NW Washington, DC
Established in 1856 and is the oldest restaurant in Washington, DC
Photo from the Internet

This would be our last evening in Washington, DC and we wanted to enjoy a nice dinner with the whole family in this old historic restaurant.  And, yes, this restaurant did live up to it's reputation and everyone enjoyed their meal.

Thank you for walking through parts of our Nation's Capital with us.  If you have visited Washington I know you really enjoyed being there.  However, if you have never visited I do hope you will travel there someday and see the amazing sites.

Wishing you many blessings in the coming new week wherever you may be.

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