Thursday, January 17, 2013

Archiving it all

My other stop on Sunday, in addition to the Hirshhorn and the Starbucks of Awkwardness was the National Archives.

The National Archives was another place on the list that I had never been before. I saw the big features - the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, the current exhibit on JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis and my favorite space - the public vaults. 

This is the exhibit that shows all of the records kept. As someone whose work inbox has 2000+ emails, I can appreciate keeping records. There were a number of interactive exhibits, combining old info with new technology, which is pretty cool, but what I loved the most were the sampling of letters that have been written to the president. 

Like the one from a soldier returning from World War II who wrote a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt asking her to be his child's godmother, or the 12 year old boy who wrote to Reagan that his mom told him his bedroom was a disaster and he wondered if the president would send him federal disaster aid to help him get it cleaned up. 

The one that caught my attention the most was one that Fidel Castro wrote, when he was a teenager, asking FDR to send him $10 as he had never seen a US $10 bill. I'm not amazed that it was saved, it seems like everything is saved, but I was amazed that years later, when Castro rose to power someone actually stumbled across that letter from a young teen and realized who that boy grew up to be. 

Our country has a really amazing history, and I'm really glad we've got the National Archives to sort it all out. 

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