03 April 2013

Why We Didn't Take Forbidden Pictures at the National Museum ofAmerican History

Oh let me tell you how much I really wanted to snap a photo of the hat Lincoln wore the night of his assassination, not for me but for my son, the great fan of Abraham Lincoln. But I didn't because I think it's more important for me to model respect and responsibility. The museum actually encourages photography throughout with only a few exceptions when flash might harm the artifacts. As someone who values open source resources, I appreciate the museum's open attitude toward photography, and I also respect the importance of forbidden photography for exhibits which cannot endure accidental flash thousands of times.

We explored almost all of the exhibits in the museum, and even returned for a second visit today in search of this nearly century and a half old hat.

Because I was the only family member who wanted to see the First Ladies exhibit (just had to see Michelle Obama's beautiful inauguration gown), my husband moved ahead to The Emancipation Proclamation exhibit with the boys to find Lincoln's hat. When I rejoined my family twenty minutes later, my nine year old eagerly greeted me and led me to the darkened area of the exhibit to show me the hat. Lights from cameras flashed and cameras clicked while Isaac proclaimed his dissatisfaction for people showing disrespect for the aged museum artifacts.

I will admit, I would like to have numerous gorgeous photos of artifacts from America's past to post on this blog right now, but I don't and I won't. Instead I hold beautiful memories of an enjoyable learning-filled spring break with my children and husband.

Shortly after writing the first part of this post, I happened across a blog post by the National Museum of American History where I learned more about their stance regarding photography and their offer to share flicker photos for download by patrons. (Side note: a post for another time will be when I write about how happy I am with museums that stay current with technology and communication.