Washington D.C. is a wealth of museums that are not to be missed. I think the museums are my favorite part of the city: most are free, they are open almost all year round, they are great no matter what the weather, and they cover a huge range of topics and interests.’  ‘ April is museum month for the Local Arrangements Committee on the YALSA blog, and we will cover just a smattering of the many museums found in’ D.C.

First up is the The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which is truly worth your time.’  Located near the National Mall and within walking distance from the Smithsonian metro stop, the museum is dedicated to abolishing hatred and genocide.’  The museum holds both traveling and permanent exhibits.’  One permanent exhibit’ is the Hall of Remembrance, a place of quiet and reflection.’  Visitors can light memorial candles or meditate on the eternal flame.’  Another permanent exhibit tells the chronological story of the Holocaust, using artifacts, visuals, and first person accounts.’  One can tell that much thought and effort was put into creating the exhibit, and it can be a very moving experience.

I’ve visited the museum twice and both times had unique experiences.’  On the first visit, I stopped in the room containing oven doors from a concentration camp.’  Another visiter, and older woman, turned to me said, “I almost ended up in one of those.” She pulled up her sleeve to reveal her number tattoo.’  We stood there while she told me her experience living through the Holocaust.’  Eventually, she moved on with her family and I broke out into tears.

The second time, I was involved in a college production of Joshua Sobol’s play, Ghetto.’  We visited the museum to help the actors and designers conduct research.’  One of the characters in the play is a Jewish police officer named Dessler, and we found a document on display bearing the real Dessler’s signature.’  Seeing a physical reminder that the play was based on real people sent shivers through all of us.

There are other exhibits available in the museum.’  Some rotate the subject matter, other exhibits display propaganda and tell the story of the Holocaust through a child’s eyes.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is free, although timed passes are required.’  A limited number can be obtained online in advance for a fee ($1.00), otherwise passes are given out on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of entry.

The Museum’s website provides a lot of information to help plan your visit.’  It is also a great resource for research on the Holocaust and genocide.

It is hard to believe that Annual is less than four months away!’  Have you registered?’  If you are interested in sharing housing, the YALSA wiki has a page specifically for roommate requests.

Since’ Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was in February, the Local Arrangements committee thought we would highlight things to do in Washington D.C. that are related to President Lincoln.’  One thing you cannot miss is the Lincoln Memorial.’  It is’ free and open 24 hours a day, although it is only staffed with park rangers 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM.’  The memorial is a beautiful structure that honors the memory of a beloved president and all he stood for.’  It also played an important part in our nation’s history: Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous’  “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the memorial.’  Lincoln and his memorial even stepped on to the pop culture stage when the statue came to life in the recent movie’ Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.’  One can learn more about the memorial by exploring the National Park Service site dedicated to the memorial.

If you wish to get even closer to Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre is where he spent his last night out.’  In addition to still being a working theatre with many scheduled performances, it also houses a museum devoted to Abraham Lincoln.’  A visit to the theatre’s museum also includes the Peterson House across the street, where Lincoln died after being shot. ‘ Daytime admission to the museum is’ free, although tickets are timed and must be acquired in advance, either the morning of your visit or on-line for a small fee.’  You can also learn about Ford’s Theatre performances on the website.

If you are coming to Washington D.C. for ALA Annual this summer, you might be interested in touring the White House. ‘ Requests for tours must be made through a’ member of Congress, and you can submit your request up to six months in advance, but no less than 30 days before. ‘ If you are not sure who your member of Congress is, you can locate your Senators here and your Representative here. ‘ (You will need the four digit extension of your zip code, which can be found here.) ‘ Citizens of foreign countries should submit requests through their embassy. ‘ All members of your group will need to be cleared by’ Secret Service first, so it is recommended that you include the name, date of birth, and’ Social Security number of each person in your request. ‘ You should also provide several different day options for your tour. ‘ Tours are self-guided and available Tuesday through Saturday. ‘ You will not be able to bring most items into the House, and there are no storage facilities available. ‘ More information can be found at the White House site, the National Park Service, your Congress member’s website, and Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.

If you are unable to visit the White House, you might want to consider the White House Visitor Center’ (also recommended if you are touring the House). ‘ It is free and open to the public every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. ‘ The Center provides information on the furnishings and architecture, families and events that have been in the White House throughout its history; a 30 minute video is also featured. ‘ More information can be found at the above mentioned web sites.

Suggested books to educate or enhance a visit include the children’s book’ Our White House: Looking in, Looking Out, A White House Cookbook from 1867, available through Google’ Books, and The White House: an Illustrated History. ‘ Further suggestions can be found at the White House Historical Association or your local libraries and bookstores.

With Halloween just a day away, one cannot help but think of ghosts and spirits.’  Washington D.C. has plenty of opportunity for frights, even when you don’t count the politicians!’  When you come to ALA Annual next June, you just might see a spirit or two!

D.C.’s most famous haunted house is, of course, the White House.’  Abraham Lincoln has been seen in the East Room (where his body lay in state), the Oval Office, hallways, and in the Lincoln bedroom.’  Abigail Adams has also been see in and around the East Room, carrying and hanging laundry.’  The White House was still under construction when she was living there, and the East Room was the only non-drafty space – perfect for hanging laundry! ‘ During Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, First Lady Wilson requested that the Rose Garden be dug up, but these plans were canceled after the workmen reported seeing the ghost of Dolley Madison there, preventing them from removing the plants.’  Dolley had planted the original garden, and it still grows today. ‘ People have also reported hearing a voice say, “I’m Mr. Burns.” ‘  The land the House was built on once belonged to a David Burns; maybe he doesn’t want to be forgotten!

Read More →

Are you planning to attend ALA’s Annual Conference in 2010? We hope so!

To encourage you to attend, over the next nine months, the YALSA Local Arrangements Committee will be blogging to highlight things to see and do in Washington D.C. Our nation’s capital has a lot to offer; we hope the information we share will entice you to come to the conference and excite you for a visit to DC! To tempt you to our nation’s capital, here is just a taste of the wonderful things to do in and around Washington, D.C!

Read More →

On the short cab ride in from the airport, I saw the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building and the White House. Then, my hotel is literally across the street from the convention center, so I strolled on over to pick up my badge holder and conference program. It is a gorgeous day outside, so I think I will head out for an early dinner and then come back to the room to listen to my final audio for the Odyssey meeting Saturday.

I hope to see many of you here in DC. If not, I hope the blog and wiki will suffice to make it seem like you are here with us.

Psted by Teri Lesesne