Sparky’s Quill: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye!

Alexander Hamilton has too much swag for us.

Alexander Hamilton has too much swag for us.

Hey, everyone. It’s Holly! Tom and I’s last fall semester is winding down and winter break is slowly creeping its way closer. I really hope that we’ve entertained you with our blog posts and it has really been a privilege to write for all of you. I am in love with history and I’m so very glad to have been able to share that interest with everyone. This winter break, I’ll be back home in California, catching up on my mile-long reading list and preparing for my exciting final undergrad semester.
I leave you with three of my favorite museums I’ve ever visited!

3. Gettysburg National Military Park
A pilgrimage for any Civil War history buff, this amazing and newly refurbished museum is jam-packed with artifacts recovered from the battlegrounds, military uniforms, and the pen that Lee used to make his surrender. A good mix of glass-case history and interactive learning, this facility really gets you thinking about the sacrifices made on that battlefield on both sides of the war.

Signer's Hall at the Constitution Center is the perfect place to contemplate life, the universe, and everything.

Signer’s Hall at the Constitution Center is the perfect place to contemplate life, the universe, and everything.

2. National Constitution Center
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pa. this place has everything. Theater, films, and “choose-your-own-destiny” games fill the circular hallways of this constitutional history museum. Monitors take you through the history of our government, even the negatives. Not only that, but you can walk around a room filled with statues of the constitution-signers. Fun pictures galore!

1. International Spy Museum.
Located in Washington, D.C. this museum was the highlight of my time there in 7th grade. I crawled around in air ducts and delivered super secret coded messages across Europe. I learned about the best females spies and how Bond wasn’t really the best agent, always blowing thing up. Overall, it was the most interesting history museum I’ve ever been to, which makes it my number one choice for a second visit!

Tom a couple years ago in DC. It is taken from the steps of the Natural History Museum facing the original Smithsonian museum.

Tom a couple years ago in DC. It is taken from the steps of the Natural History Museum facing the original Smithsonian museum.

Hey guys. It was a pleasure writing this blog the past year and I appreciate anyone who has been with us since the beginning! It was a great experience sharing stories from the past and I will continue in my journey into grad school. Where, I have no idea yet, that is up to the schools to decide. Next semester I will continue working on the Salt River Stories project which will be an app that you can download on your mobile device, so look out in the future for some really cool stuff! I bid you adieu with my top three museums/battlefields that I have visited.

3. Air Force Museum Dayton Ohio
As a kid I loved the military. I used to play “army” with my friends and always played with the classic green army men. I also loved jets. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up there is a good chance I would have responded “A fighter pilot!” There was a joint reserve base literally down the street and I was able to see some of the most powerful jets demonstrate their prowess. When I entered Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio I became that little kid again. I was face to face with some of the most powerful and innovative pieces of technology in US history. I got to stand underneath the B2 bomber and walk the length of the Blackbird. I saw Apollo capsules and the U2 spy plane. It was unreal. This museum made me forget about everything and return to the awe and wonder of a child. For that reason it gets number three on my list.

2. Shiloh National Military Park
My visit to Shiloh will always be remembered. A powerful storm forced me to wait on the side of the road before I entered the battlefield, exactly what happened right before the start of the battle so many years ago. I lowered my windows to take in the fresh summer Tennessee air as I entered the site. It was calmly yet eerily quiet driving to the ranger station. I’m not someone who believes in ghosts or the supernatural, but there was definitely a different ambiance at that battlefield. It was such a different feel from any other battlefield I have visited like Gettysburg, Antietam, Harpers Ferry, and Vicksburg to name a few. We listened to a walking tour from a Park Ranger who is also a veteran. The ranger took us to the Hornet’s Nest and explained in great detail the battle that took place there while I sat there letting my imagination wander 150 years in the past to watch mini balls zoom by me. He explained how many veterans who visit the hallowed grounds find peace and comfort. I could definitely feel it. The air was different. It was indescribable and it took my breath away.

1. Smithsonian Natural History Museum
I was lucky as a child. I visited Washington D.C. many times and got to experience growing up with the Smithsonian Institution. The Natural History Museum captivated me as a kid. My mind raced from the plains of Africa to the deep sea simply by walking into the next exhibit. The exhibits kickstarted the wonderful imagination of a child and I was lost in another world. It’s the same feeling you get when reading a good book. When I read books like The Hobbit or Harry Potter I was instantly on a journey in another world fighting giant spiders and dragons or sitting there mumbling how much it sucks to be in potions class with Snape. A great museum is a catapult for the imagination. No other museum captured my attention like the Natural History one. The Natural History Museum and the rest of the Smithsonian museums are what inspired me to pursue studying history and anthropology. They made a major impact on my life and for that reason this is number one on my list.

Honorable Mentions: British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Air & Space Museum.

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