National Museum of American History Reopens

Sunday after church, we checked out the newly reopened Smithsonian National Museum of American History. I was there on its last day before renovation and was eager to see the changes — and was somewhat disappointed.

IMG_0516 Most of the changes took place in the middle of the museum, where a special exhibit chamber for the Star Spangled Banner had been constructed and the grand central hall was redone as a large, sweeping atrium in “Apple Store” white glass. Exhibits off to the sides were largely unchanged: “America on the Move” and “Within These Walls” were the same as always. Sadly, the “Information Age” exhibit with its Stephen Hansen carousel sculpture was gone, as were Foucault’s Pendulum and the red-carpeted hall. The museum didn’t even really get the full “U.S. history” treatment I thought it would get; the renovation concentrated mostly on getting the Star-Spangled Banner into its new display chamber, while leaving the old “History and Technology” exhibits mostly the same. I wouldn’t mind that so much if they’d just kept “Information Age” where it was.

On the up side, the renovation finished on schedule. That definitely deserves a Smithsonian high-five.

Anyway, I took pictures:

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More stuff: “Farewell” photoset from before they closed up for renovation, photoset from this trip for the reopening weekend, and some fuzzy cellphone video of a quick Friday night jaunt to see the museum on Reopening Day itself.