1) The Postal Museum:
A lesser known Smithsonian across the street from Union Station. I saw this two weekends ago, but was too lazy to post about it til now.
What do they have?
*A couple little mail planes, a mail train car, some mail trucks, and a mail wagon in the atrium. Yes, it's a big atrium.
*Some exhibits on mail fraud.
*The history of the US Postal system.
*A section on the Pony Express. (Apparently it wasn't around very long.)
*Letters sent to/from soldiers.
*Stamps from all over the world.
*A room on stamp collecting.
All in all, it was more interesting than I anticipated, though I'm still a bit confused why the Postal Service gets its own Smithsonian. (Notice, for example, that there is no Smithsonian for the diplomatic corps. Although, coincidentally, I finally made it to the diplomatic reception rooms at state a few weeks ago. They were...nice. Even nicer? The next time I see them I'll be sworn in as an FSO! Now that's something to get excited about.)
There are now only two Smithsonians (in DC) that I haven't seen yet, and it's unlikely that I'll make it to either of them. 1) The Udvar-Hazy center is out by Dulles (I know, right?) and since I don't have a car that won't be happening. 2) The Anacostia museum is in town, but I'd have to take a metro then a bus to get there which is also a bit too much.
2) Today I saw the Phillips Collection thanks to the generous donation of a free ticket by one of my colleagues. It was not particularly kid friendly, but sometimes that's the point, right? I was particularly impressed that they have Renoir's original "Luncheon of the Boating Party", especially since Renoir was my favorite painter in high school. I also really liked the stuff by Raoul Dufy. Other than that the art was, admittedly, a bit over my head. But if you're into art, especially abstract art, I'd recommend it.
3) The Folklife Festival was great! I ate a Senegalese dish called Thiebou Dieun (unpronounceable!), saw some great Tinikling dancing by a group from the Philippines, danced to some Colombian music, and watched a performance of by a group of San(from Botswana) dancers. I left early because the mall was hotter than the surface of the Sun and I was not feeling well, but I had a good time anyway. And now, of course, I'm dying to get out and travel again. It's been a year and 2 days now since I set foot out of the U.S. and I'm developing a bad case of 'itchy feet'.