Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Are You Smarter than a U.S. President?

Earlier this month, my husband and I spent a weekend in Washington D.C.--shout out to my brother and JB for hauling us all around!

While there, we visited the National Archives. That's the huge institution where all sorts of documents are housed--most notably the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. I was prepared for Nicolas Cage to cold bust in there at any moment and steal everything! I don't think the very tired-looking security guards could've stopped him, either! Those two historic documents, along with a handful of others, are behind glass cases in a very cold, very dark area of the building in order to attempt to keep them preserved. Unfortunately, they are already extremely faded, but there are of course replicas of the originals that are more readable. But I was able to make out the fact that "Congress" was spelled Congrefs on the Constitution. Maybe everyone else knew this, but I didn't. I noticed this on several other documents throughout the building, and asked my brother if they used to put an f in place of a double-s or something. He said that back in the day that was indeed common. Here's why, if you're interested. I kind of dig it--bring back the "fs!"

While there, we also wandered through a traveling exhibit that was very interesting: "From School House to White House: The Education of the Presidents." Nearly all of the modern-day presidents were represented--they had pictures, report cards, elementary school essays, yearbooks, uniforms, even videos! Let's just say that not all of them did that well in school. What was most fascinating to me, though, was that a few current presidents had met future presidents, unbeknownst to everyone at that time. One example is a video of John F. Kennedy meeting Bill Clinton when he was in school. How crazy is that? And how crazy is it that they got it on tape?

One thing I was surprised to see was a picture of the former President Bush with his fellow Skull & Bones peeps at Yale. If it's such a secret society, why is there a picture of it in one of the country's major institutions, exposed to the masses? The Illuminati are gonna be pissed! (GHW Bush is to the left of the clock)

Let's end my talk of this display on a lighter note, shall we? Below is Bill Clinton, farthest to the left, in kindergarten. In every picture they had of him growing up, he was smiling or laughing (this is in great contrast to many of the other future presidents). Classic. I'm just surprised he's not closer to all the girls...

If you're not able to get out to D.C. before the exhibit ends in January, check out this detailed article that includes pictures of many of the display items.

Finally, we roamed around the rest of the building--they really had some unbelievable stuff. For example, there was a letter from Fidel Castro (age 12) to President Roosevelt, asking for a ten dollar bill. You can see it here. His English was not very good, but you can't blame a kid for trying. What is not explained, however, is exactly how and why they still had that letter?!?! Hellooooo, who would have known what young Fidel would grow up to be? They are archiving everything, my friends. Big Brother is watching!

But I digrefs.

- e


Wanders said...

Great post. Glad you enjoyed my 'hood.

Anonymous said...

library of congress in my fav