Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)'s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County, Virginia, United States.

The 760,000 square feet facility was made possible by a $65 million gift in October 1999 to the Smithsonian Institution by Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, an immigrant from Hungary and co-founder of the International Lease Finance Corporation, an aircraft leasing corporation. NASM has always had more artifacts than could be displayed at the main museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Most of the collection had been stored, unavailable to visitors, at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Silver Hill, Prince George's County, Maryland. A substantial addition to the center encompassing restoration, conservation and collection-storage facilities is underway; once complete, restoration facilities and museum archives will be moved from their current location at the Garber facility to the Udvar-Hazy Center.

The Udvar-Hazy Center is the companion facility to the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Opened in 2003, its two huge hangars — the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar — display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, and the space shuttle Discovery. The Center also offers the Airbus IMAX Theater and the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, which gives you a 360-degree bird's-eye view of Washington Dulles International Airport and the surrounding area. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:00

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

The bronze and marble Ulysses S. Grant Memorial by Henry Merwin Shrady is located by the reflecting pool at the east end of the National Mall, west of the United States Capitol. Its central figure depicts the Civil War general (and future president) seated and still on horseback, as was his custom while observing a battle; bronze reliefs on the marble pedestal show infantry soldiers on the march. Four bronze lions around the pedestal impart a sense of strength and dignity. At the ends of the monument, groups of soldiers and horses appear in tumultuous action, with cavalry at the north and artillery at the south. Measuring 44 feet high and occupying a marble platform over 250 feet long and 70 feet deep, the monument is the largest statuary group in Washington, D.C.; the sculpture of Grant is among the largest equestrian statues in the world. The Congress authorized the creation of the memorial in 1901. Twenty-three sculptors competed for the commission, which was awarded to the relatively unknown Henry Merwin Shrady (1871–1922). A former law student and businessman, Shrady had taught himself to sketch and sculpt, initially by studying animals at the Bronx Zoo. To ensure the accuracy of the Grant Memorial, he studied Civil War history, equipment, and uniforms; joined the New York National Guard; and consulted many war veterans and others who had known the general—including his own father, who had been one of Grant’s physicians. The memorial was completed in 1920; sadly, the sculptor died 15 days before its dedication in 1922. Shrady’s partner in the project was New York architect Edward Pearce Casey (1864–1940), who is also represented in Washington, D.C., by the Taft Memorial Bridge, DAR Constitution Hall, and the completion of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

United States Botanic Garden

Steeped in history, rich with tradition, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is a living plant museum that informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humans and to earth's fragile ecosystems.

More than 200 years ago, George Washington had a vision for the capital city of the United States that included a botanic garden that would demonstrate and promote the importance of plants to the young nation. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Since 1934, it has been administered through the Architect of the Capitol.

The Garden has been recognized as a museum and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. This accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval that recognizes a museum's commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

The USBG is dedicated to demonstrating the aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological importance of plants to the well-being of humankind. The USBG promotes botanical knowledge through the cultivation of an ordered collection of plants; presenting displays of plants, exhibits and educational programs to the Congress and the public; and, fostering sustainability and plant conservation.

For the 21st Century, the U.S. Botanic Garden has committed itself to sustainability, educating the public about ways to live by supporting the interconnected web of life that is the environment, and in particular, by nurturing the plants that support the life on our planet. Learn more about the USBG's sustainability efforts through our short film America's Sustainable Garden: The United States Botanic Garden. With the continued support of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Botanic Garden is committed to serving the American people. Just as our forefathers recognized the role of plants in the future development of the fledgling nation, there is even greater need today to renew our understanding of the importance of plants to the well-being of our citizens, our nation and the world. It is hard to imagine a more important mission.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

United States Holocaust Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is the United States' official memorial to the Holocaust. Adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the USHMM provides for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history. It is dedicated to helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy.

With an operating budget of just under $78.7 million ($47.3 million from Federal sources and $31.4 million from private donations) in 2008, the Museum had a staff of about 400 employees, 125 contractors, 650 volunteers, 91 Holocaust survivors, and 175,000 members. It had local offices in New York, Boston, Boca Raton, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Since its dedication on April 22, 1993, the Museum has welcomed nearly 30 million visitors, including more than 8 million school children. It has also welcomed 91 heads of state and more than 3,500 foreign officials from over 132 countries. The Museum's visitors came from all over the world, and less than 10 percent of the Museum's visitors are Jewish. Its website had 25 million visits in 2008 from an average of 100 different countries daily. 35% of these visits were from outside the United States, including more than 238,000 visits from Muslim-majority countries.

The USHMM’s collections contain more than 12,750 artifacts, 49 million pages of archival documents, 80,000 historical photographs, 200,000 registered survivors, 1,000 hours of archival footage, 84,000 library items, and 9,000 oral history testimonies. It also has teacher fellows in every state in the United States and has welcomed almost 400 university fellows from 26 countries since 1994.

Researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have documented 42,500 ghettos and concentration camps erected by the Nazis throughout German-controlled areas of Europe from 1933 to 1945.

Entrance is free however you will need a ticket. Go online or box office at the museum the day you intend to visit. Subject matter may be strong for young children.

 

Published in Historical Attractions

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) is memorial established by the U.S. federal government which honors women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The memorial is located at the western end of Memorial Drive at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States. The structure in which the memorial is housed was originally known as the Hemicycle, and built in 1932 to be a ceremonial entrance to the cemetery. It never served this purpose, and was in disrepair by 1986. Congress approved the WIMSA memorial in 1985, and the Hemicycle approved as the site for the memorial in 1988. An open design competition was won by New York architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi. Their original design was leaked to the public, and caused significant controversy. Two years of fund-raising and design revision followed. A revised preliminary design was approved in July 1992, and the final design in March 1995. Ground was broken for the memorial in June 1995, and the structure dedicated on October 18, 1997.

The memorial is notable for its successful mixing of Neoclassical and Modern architecture. The memorial largely retained the Hemicycle, but added a widely praised skylight on the Hemicycle terrace that incorporates not only memorials to servicewomen but also acts as a transition to the memorial below. Construction of the memorial, however, generated a lawsuit when a nearby pylon (part of the gateway to the cemetery) was damaged. Raising funds to pay off the construction

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