The Bat’s Meow

Impressive mix of history & technology! @amhistorymuseum ... on Twitpic The Star Spangled Banner exhibit at the National Museum of American History has gone high tech. Like many Americans, I remember going to the Smithsonian Institution as a kid and seeing the famous flag hanging in entryway. The current display protects it from sunlight and includes a very cool touchscreen that lets you zoom in on specific parts of the flag. As you leave the darkened room, a sign asks you to tweet your comments to @amhistorymuseum.

My wife and I planned our day in D.C. to include a trip to the museum because she wanted to see the old ladies’ dresses First Ladies’ Gowns. While we were there, I wanted to show her Julia Child’s kitchen, even though I saw it last summer. I am a longtime fan of the French Chef. An interview with Julia played on a video screen with an occasional slide saying that the footage was recorded on September 11, 2001. I didn’t notice any reference to that day’s terrorist attacks and couldn’t figure out why they mentioned it.

Batman lunchbox on display in cafeteria of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History “Batman” was represented at least twice in the museum. In the cafeteria, they had a display of lunchboxes through the years. I saw a Batman & Robin lunchbox that was similar to one I had in first grade. I thought mine also had The Penguin on it, but a Google search makes me think the villains were on the thermos.

After enjoying lunch from the salad bar, my wife and I took the elevator up to the third floor. The doors opened to reveal an assortment of original Muppets from Jim Henson’s days at WRC-TV, before “Sesame Street.” Beyond that we could see Archie and Edith Bunker’s chairs from “All in the Family.”

one of Julie Newmar's Catwoman suits from "Batman" on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History with Fonzie's jacket and Phyllis Diller's wig in the background The museum rotates the display of pop-culture treasures in the relatively small space. The highlight for me was seeing one of Julie Newmar’s Catwoman costumes from the “Batman” TV series. It was placed next to a case with Fonzie’s leather jacket, Phyllis Diller’s wig and few other items.

Around the corner from Catwoman was a room featuring items from 1939. We saw Dorothy’s ruby slippers and a page from “The Wizard of Oz” screenplay in which the slippers were silver, like in the book. I gravitated toward a display case for radio, which held an NBC microphone, Toscanini’s baton and radio’s most famous dummy, Charlie McCarthy. That’s me on the right.

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