Washington, DC: The Mall: SE part — do great nations keep their word?

Free and wonderful museums in Washington have their cradle here. British scientist and philanthropist James Smithsonian, illegitimate son of the Northumberland prince, donated his substantial wealth to the US government, although he had never visited this country, to create an institution to strengthen and disseminate knowledge among men. Although at first the US government did not know what to do with such an uneasy gift, eventually a government-run foundation was established that still runs more and more museums in Washington. The first was a modest exhibition at the Victorian edifice of Smithsonian Castle, but then more and more museums were built.

One of them is the mighty National Air and Space Museum, where you can see everything related to flying – from the shaky flyer of the Wright brothers from 1903, through aircrafts which hold the title of the first flight across the Atlantic, like the Spirit of St. Louis and in the female version of Red Vega Amelia Earhart, planes from World War II, up to the cockpit of a Jumbo Jet, souvenirs from Apollo 11 and even models from Star Trek.

And there is one of the newest museums – the National Museum of American Indian, co-created by indigenous people and much needed here. Describing dozens of rich cultures, and dramatic history of almost complete extermination and a series of agreements with the American government, each of which was broken, only to be replaced by even more modest one. And a moving slogan “Great nations keep their word.”

(July 2018)