Here, in semi-chronological order, are highlights from my favorite field trips of the past year.
- Lower East Side Tenement Museum – January and April, NYC.
I momentarily geek out when the site’s census records include someone with a name very similar to my Russian Jewish immigrant ancestors.
- Colonial Williamsburg and the DeWitt Wallace Museum – March, Williamsburg, VA.
My classmates and I are apprenticed to various trades. I try on stays and find they are excellent back support.
- Senate Chambers and the White House – May, Washington D.C.
Curators give us the inside scoop on the Senate “candy desk” and the daily wear-and-tear of White House furniture.
- Frederick, MD – June.
Churches, gravestones, and a million things named for native son Francis Scott Key.
- Claude Moore Colonial Farm – July, McClean, VA.
My siblings and I admire tobacco plants, learn how stupid chickens actually are.
- Arlington House– July, Arlington, VA.
The furniture’s in storage, but the original architectural details are on full display.
- Gunston Hall– July, Mason Neck, VA and George Mason Memorial – November, Washington D.C.
The one Founding Father who actually did retire to rural obscurity like he wanted is memorialized by some underappreciated gems.
- Capitol Building – August, Washington D.C.
I like statues of historic figures. This place did not disappoint. Also, it helps to have a relative with inside connections.
- St. Matthew’s Cathedral – November, Washington D.C.
The site of President Kennedy’s funeral, the archbishop’s Masses, and dozens of Eakins-like early 20th century paintings.
- Old Ursuline Convent – December, New Orleans.
And the Virgin Mary said unto me, “Behold, here are some 18th century embroidered vestments, since I know thou likes researching them so much. Also a letter from Thomas Jefferson. And a lovely church dripping with decorative details. Happy New Year.”
What museums should I visit in 2012?