The Smithsonian Museum of American History.
Dorothy's ruby slippers? Cute.
Giant American Flag made out of Lego? Nice.
Really old house, with antique furniture, relics, and hundreds of facts about the houses' residents over the course of 200 years?
The Smithsonian exhibit Within These Walls was like a dream come true for me.
About half a century ago, this house was standing somewhere in Massachusetts and about to be demolished. Instead, it was brought to the Smithsonian and put on display in a large room where people can make their way around the house, looking in through its windows and some cut-away portions to see what living quarters looked like why back then. Furthermore, there are models, posters, and signs all around the house that allow you to more fully understand who lived here and what their lives would have been like.
When it was first built, this house had X number of rooms. But over time, more were added. Signs in the exhibit point out how researchers figured which rooms had been added later, and approximately when. Visitors can actually see how the materials in the flooring or the walls were different in various parts of the house.
So architecture buffs? You're in for a treat.
If you're interested in a American history, there's plenty of that, too. Several of the houses' residents fought for abolition or women's suffrage, and there's tons of information in this exhibit to give you a good idea of what that entailed. During World War II, the residents, like many Americans, raised a victory garden and recycled scrap metal to help with the war effort.
If you're fascinated by domestic life way-back-when (ie, if you ever wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder and get your water from a well and cook on a wood stove), there's enough here to keep your imagination swirling: antiques and replicas of the household items that were used by people who lived here, as well as information about how they would have done laundry, cooked food, or even fixed their hair.
There's just so much to look at!
Of course, there's plenty more to see at this Smithsonian museum. Within These Walls may have been my favorite exhibit, but I did enjoy others, particular one about the history of food and its consumption in America:
The Smithsonian Museum Of American History is a great place, and well worth a days' visit if you're in Washington D.C.