Exploring DC :: Part 1 (NPR Store and the Guard)

I spent this last week working in DC. I’ll write about some boring stuff, then some fun stuff.

Boring stuff. Work was done at the EPA (Crystal City office), all 3 Senate and 3 House offices, and the USDA. Participating in the regulation process (EPA) was interesting; participating in the lobbying process (Congressional offices) was satisfying (despite the drop of morale). I thought the food service was of good value and quality in the government office buildings. I was shocked at the few commercial presences in government buildings — it just felt odd and slightly wrong to see isolated retail stores. There are plenty of shopping options outside.

Fun stuff. I went to the NPR Store, the National Guard Museum (especially in honor of my grandpa. and my dad, too), the National Postal Museum (Hamilton!), and Union Station. I also participated in DC urban beekeeping. The funniest (and most fun) part of all the fun stuff is that somehow, honey bees worked into most of the places I visited.

At the NPR store, a very short walk from where I stayed, I found an entire display’s worth of bee stuff — blank journals with honey bees on the cover, beeswrap, etc. Every now and then you hear a story that mentions the two hives on the NPR office rooftop, so the merchandise is a quirky reference to them. The hives used to be part of the building tour, but tours had ceased for summer. I found a nice wall of NPR history exhibits in the lobby, too.

NPR Store

The National Guard Memorial Museum was pleasantly educational for adults (thank you to the nice random someone from the outside who badged me in, and no, thank you to the off-site radio security who kept telling me that the door appeared unlocked so I should have no issues entering). The library down the hallway had interesting exhibits, too. But don’t try to get a drink from the gold drinking fountains because they aren’t working.

Audio files were the most interactive the exhibits got, but as it was not staffed, I doubt that higher visitor engagement is the goal. (For kids and less interested adults, I would recommend our large Iowa Gold Star Military Museum — lots of multi-sensory interaction.) I walked by this place a few times, and because my grandfather (my mom’s dad) was head of our state’s Selective Service System, and my dad is retired Guard, I thought it would be nice to visit.

Two fun takeaways. 1. I am most likely too big around and too tall to fit into the historic uniforms from the years before 1940. I laugh when imagining myself being considered big and tall. 2. Honey bees can play a part in the Agricultural Development Teams today, as shown in my pics below.

national guard, honey bee suit
I was completely surprised to turn the corner and see this.
national guard, honey bees
She’s so BA — no veil, no gloves.

Last fun fact for this trip: I found my dad, kind of. 34th ID. I thought I recognized that red bull. [I didn’t read the card until today, “on loan from Iowa Gold Star Museum.” And he -just- verified for me.]

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