It’s becoming a regular occurrence that I watch the news and exclaim, “I’ve been there!” about monuments and buildings. I am, of course, referring to my trip to Washington, D.C. in March. I’ve previously written about the first half of my trip, so I thought it was about time that I wrote about the second half. If you missed my first post, you can check it out here.

As you can probably tell from my first post, I absolutely loved the Newseum (yes, like “news museum”). I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that on Sunday morning, my dad and I returned to see an exhibit we missed on our first day: Pulitzer Prize Photographs.

The entrance to the exhibit.

Walking into the black, square-arched entrance of the exhibit, you immediately feel like you’re stepping into history. In a way, you are. Tragedies, disasters, surprises and joys are all captured in the photos that adorn the walls. There was a quote on one of the walls from John H. White, the winner of the 1982 feature photo, that stuck with me. In the quote, White says that although he has covered death, his Pulitzer photos show something different. “They were stories about people every day, stories about the heartbeat of the city,” he said.

White’s Pulitzer-winning photo.

After spending some time looking at the photographs, we met up with my mom and sister at the National Museum of Natural History. We saw the hope diamond and a scorpion that glows in the dark—so a really wide variety of things. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love sharks. I really liked the museum’s Sant Ocean Hall, with replicas of sea creatures hanging from the ceiling.

A model of a blue whale in the Sant Ocean Hall.

Our next stop was a different kind of museum: the International Spy Museum. We took part in a sort of spy-escape room challenge (which taught me that, though I enjoy spy movies, I have some work to do if I ever wanted to be a real spy). The museum itself was really interesting, with a mix of James Bond-esque, fictional spy exhibits and information about real-life espionnage.

A display in the International Spy Museum.

We were famished after our spy adventure, so we stopped for lunch at Shake Shack (that’s what real spies have for lunch, right?). Then, we were off to the White House Visitor Center, which features an intricate, miniature model of the White House grounds. One exhibit featured two old chairs from the White House press room, which I obviously loved!

A model at the White House Visitor Center.

From there, we went to the life-sized White House, which we hadn’t yet seen in daylight. Although the cherry blossoms weren’t fully in bloom, it was a beautiful sunny day. It’s a little bit strange to see the White House, the topic of so much controversy today, standing immobile in the sun. If not for the few people with signs standing around the fence, you could stare at the White House and not have a clue of what was happening inside (unless you opened Twitter).

The White House in daylight.

That night, we returned to the National Air and Space Museum to watch Black Panther. It was an Imax theatre, so it was really cool to experience the movie on the big screen, and in a building housing so many cool artifacts and exhibits. Waiting in line inside to enter the theatre, looking at the empty lobby and hanging planes, I almost felt like I was in Night at the Museum.

The screen at the theatre.

The next morning, we packed our suitcases and started the drive home. We stopped for breakfast at the Waffle House, one of the two places with the initials W.H. we visited on the trip, and then continued the journey back to Canada.

White cherry blossoms.

Although it was a short trip, we managed to see a lot in Washington. I loved all of the intersections of journalism and politics. Returning home from the trip to continue a busy week of university, I felt energized—and already excited for whatever will bring me to Washington next.

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