D.C. Day 2 – Capitol Tour & Air and Space Museum & Archives

On Day 2 we paid the extra money to take the shuttle directly from Cherry Hill RV Park right into DC because we knew we didn’t want to be late for our Capitol tour. The metro system is unpredictable right now because of 4 stations being closed for construction (will write more on this later!).

We met at the Rayburn House office building and went up to Congressman Rouzer’s office. Congress is not in session right now so he wasn’t in office but his staff was great and we loved the personal touch! (We did meet our congressman in 2018 when he came to visit our neighborhood after our Hurricane Florence flood). I am sure these walls are normally packed but it was a quiet morning!

It was so interesting to cross under ground into the Capitol. This is definitely the way to tour the Capitol if you get the chance!

The 13 minute video was one of the best summaries of American history I’ve seen and definitely a must do at the Capitol. πŸ‘πŸ»

Going with a staff member let us avoid the crowds and headphones tour and instead we got to walk and learn just the 5 of us. We really enjoyed meeting Riley and getting the personal tour. Every state has 2 statues somewhere in the Capitol. This will be the last time we see Aycock representing NC. We were *so* excited to learn he will be replaced soon by Billy Graham πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ».

Look at this chandelier as we walked toward the old Supreme Court Chamber:

It was installed in 1965 after it was purchased for $1,500 from a wrecking company who had salvaged it from Capitol Hill United Methodist Church before its destruction. The chandelier had been imported from Europe in 1903 for the grand Maryland Theatre in Baltimore. Then before the theatre was razed a parishioner bought it for the church. Worth over $4,000,000 today – what a beautiful piece that came close to destruction at least twice.

Next up was the Old Supreme Chamber used from 1810 – 1860. This was actually first used as the senate chamber from 1800-1808. This was where Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated president 1801 and 1805 😲. Then as the Supreme Court chamber – so many history making cases were decided here – most famous being the Dred Scott !

It’s such a dark and dingy room. I’m sure they were all ready for brighter days!

These cost hangers are the original hangers of the last justices to use this room.

Cat prints on the floor cuz DC has always been a city full of swamp rats:

These are the last stairs the president elect will walk down before he steps out to be inaugurated. It’s so wild to think of the emotions and thoughts of the men standing right here waiting to walk down those stairs onto the world stage:

And then at the bottom looking up into the Rotunda:

And the famous Capitol rotunda. It really is amazing!

On to national statuary hall. North Carolina’s 2nd statue (Zebulon Vance) :

And we especially loved the stare down across the room between Jefferson Davis and Rosa Parks:

And I love that they commemorated the exact spot where Abraham Lincoln sat as a little known senator when this served as senate chamber:

The Old Senate Chamber from 1810-1859 was next up – complete with spittoons. So many world impacting decisions made here!

I recognized this next area as the place where Mitch McConnell had a medical episode on air. No disrespect intended but we sure are being led by a multitude of elderly who should have retired years ago:

Another change we need is a lot more of our representatives using the below room on a regular basis:

The chapel! Bummer it was locked along with the Speaker’s balcony which is under construction. We wanted to peek out the balcony onto the mall so badly.

Ironically in the Catherine Marshall book I’m on now (my new favorite author!) I’m reading about her husband Peter who was Senate chaplain in the 1940s. So he would have used this room.

I am pretty sure every building we entered this week has been under construction. I was curious if this was all the repair work started under President Trump?

That concluded our Capitol tour. We truly enjoyed it and loved the personal touch by booking it through our representatives office!

Next up on our 2nd day was the Air and Space Museum but like I mentioned yesterday… it just didn’t live up to its hype for us. Probably because of our trip to the Kennedy Space Center and also the Warbird Museum. It was cool to see the Spirit of St Louis – John Glen’s suit – and the display on Civil Air Patrol. Our aspiring pilot enjoyed it all and it was free so there you go! Now that he has been gifted the calling to be a pilot – I gotta take him back to the warbird museum.

Tourist tip: This is the one Smithsonian you have to reserve tickets for in advance.

Tourist tip: ask for prices before you buy from any food truck or street vendor and then go ahead and bargain with them. We had to skip dinner because we got these treats before we learned that trick 🀣

We ended Day 2 at the Archives where we got to see the original Declaration and Constitution (!) before loading on our bus to head back for some pool and hot tub time! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ’•

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