Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day One--At the Capitol & Ford's Theater/Peterson House

It was quite a feat to narrow down the many hundreds of pictures we took on vacation! Papa Rooster has been teaching himself professional-level photography for the last couple years, and he had a field day in D.C. He also gave his next-best camera to B15 and started training him to use it; Blondechick was assigned to take the people shots. So it's been hard to choose just a few!

Let's start with our first morning there.  We had a tour of the Capitol building lined up in advance, with an intern from our Congressman's office.  Congress wasn't in session, so he wasn't there, and we didn't even get a peek at the Congressional chambers since they were closed for a few hours at the time we were there.  But nothing else about the Capitol was disappointing!  The kids all name it as a highlight.

The Rotunda is probably the most impressive room.  So many beautiful details!  This frieze had an interesting story.  Congress wanted a bas-relief sculpture, but to save money (what a concept!;), they had it painted to look like sculptural instead.  The first artist quit after falling off the scaffolding; the second artist was too slow and detailed, and he made his figures too close together and ran out of the planned material, so there was a big space at the end for many years.  Then a third artist proposed and executed the remainder.  You can't tell the difference, from the ground, anyway.

Here is B15's photo of Papa Rooster getting a shot of Statuary Hall (also a famous example of a whispering gallery).  Every state of the union has donated two statues to the Capitol's collection, and many of them are displayed in this room.  I especially like this shot because it's of parallel priests.

We all think this one looks like a postcard.  The partly cloudy day was perfect lighting!

We ate lunch at the Capitol cafeteria, and then had a fast, longish walk to make our appointment time at Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was assassinated.  The kids were happy to sit awhile and watch an educational movie when we first got there.

It was fun to banter with Lincoln's life-size contemporaries!

And there's the box where he was watching the play on that fateful night.  We sat in the balcony for awhile ourselves, while a National Park Ranger gave a detailed account of the days surrounding the tragedy.  Then we trooped across the street to view the room in the Peterson House where he died the next morning.  Interestingly, the furnishings there were reproductions; the actual furniture from the room was back home in a Chicago museum I've never heard of before (the Chicago History Museum).

We had a dinner invitation from some college friends in the area--and we had a great time reconnecting with their family!--so we had to call it a day in D.C.  And I think I'll call it a day with this post, too.  More to come!


Anonymous said...

The name of the Franciscan priest in this photo (a statue from California) is Blessed Junipero Serra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junipero_Serra

At A Hen's Pace said...

Matt, thank you! PR keeps trying to remember his name whenever he's showing these pics to our friends. All we could remember was that he was from CA.