In August this year, I was lucky enough to take a break from work and meet up with my father (he came up from Florida) for a week in Washington, DC. I chose that spot as it was nice to not go to Southern Florida again to spend time with my dad but also to spend my week looking at a ton of cool stuff in our nations best museums. Given the hot mid-August weather, it was sweet that I had planned on being inside museums the whole time.
Together, we went to many great locations, the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Museum of American History, The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, The Library of Congress, The Capitol Building, and a few others. It was an extensive and exhausting week. I saw so much and I took many photographs.
I have already made a short post of my visit to the Jefferson Library in the Library of Congress. That guy was such a geek. I was really excited and impressed to see what was on his bookshelf.
The main goal of the trip for me was one full day at National Air and Space Museum on the Capitol Mall and two full days at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airfield. HOLY CRAP! I had been to the museum at the mall when I was young but this time I spent real time at the center at Dulles as well. It was so amazing. Either location is incredible and offer so much but the airfield is really where the action is. It’s just full of planes, jets, spacecraft, and just about anything else you can imagine. Go there!
The stars of the show at the Udvar-Hazy Center are the space shuttle Discovery, the Enola Gay, a Concorde, and an SR-71 Blackbird. Beyond that, the massive hanger is well lit and easy to spend time in. There’s an IMAX theatre and a McDonalds Restaurant so there are ways to burn time for the easily bored. For me, I left exhausted both days.
The skywalk of the hanger takes the tourist around the whole open area and over the workshop of the museum as well. There, among other projects, the restoration of Flak Bait was taking place. A record 202 bombing runs over Europe and it lived to tell the tale. I loved seeing the tools these folks use to make the history live.
Many folks know that I put a lot of focus on details when I take my photos. This trip exaggerated that and left me with hundreds of photos to process. 1072 photos. I’ve been busy with lots of other projects in the past couple of months but I kept picking away at the load. Today, it’s done.
These trips are about learning and probing the details of why we do what we do in high performance design. Nothing speaks to that more than aerospace and we can learn from every era and solution. From Wright Cycles to the F-35 JSF some of the best engineers and scientists have been developing the most practical science and technologies to solve problems sparing no expense. Looking at these pieces as masterworks, we can learn the most from them versus more mundane commercial product.
If you would like an unmolested RAW image file from what I have here, just ask.