Review of National Museum of American History, DC

I went to the Museum this past weekend.  Here are my observations:

Grade:  D+ .  As museums go, this one is not worthy of the august name it carries.  Hugely disappointing.  Whoever is running it, and all their deputies, should be fired.

1.  There is a huge ornate building across the street.  Built in the 1930’s.  It is now called the William Jefferson Clinton Building and houses the EPA.  But it used to house the Labor department. After that it housed the other things. The inside is gilded and covered with polished marble, limestone and rare wood.  It is a masterpiece of the kinds of things government can build with an unlimited supply of other people’s money.

2.  Insufficient lighting.  If you are going to have a museum that displays written artifacts and intricately created human achievements, you need some decent indoor lighting.  It seems to me that the most important objective of the national Museum was “save a watt” because “polar bears” or some stupid shit.  Seriously.  This is the darkest museum I have ever been in.  I am pretty sure that they used to do a much better job at this.

3.  Empty space.  Way too much empty space.  With all the historical artifacts available to the Smithsonian system (huge warehouses full), it is criminally negligent to have huge empty rooms in the National Museum of American History .  Obviously, the Museum is keeping free space open for use when the Aristocracy needs a cool place to host a party for their friends.  This is quite common in this town.  All the museums do it.  And there are a LOT of aristocracy having private events that need swanky venues.  The crime is that the museum and staff are paid for by your tax dollars so that you, the People, can have a museum.  Not so that Aristocrats don’t have to fund their own ball rooms.  As an aside, Trump was in the middle of reconstructing the old DC post office complex into a swanky privately operated hotel and ballroom complex so that Aristocrats can PAY to use it.

4.  Space devoted to NON-Museum stuff.  The gift shop and food courts take way too much space.   The gift shop even set aside special space just to sell trinkets from the FBI.  Not the other agencies, just tons of FBI shirts, coffee mugs, and other overpriced made-in-China crap for the tourists.  Totally no sense of balance, efficiency, or focus on purpose.

5.  Security Theater.  As you enter the building, you get a TSA-style check-in.  Complete with metal detectors, baggage checks (including purses and backpacks), and wanding for those special few.  There is no reason to do this.  There is no threat to America’s museums.  No one is trying to bomb museums or kill museum patrons.  the right amount of security would be open doors and a few unarmed guards inside to make small children keep their greasy fingers off the artifacts.

6.  Poor traffic layout.  A museum should have exhibits arranged with traffic flow in mind.  This museum has places where the traffic stops and has to double back on itself.   Is it really too much trouble to put some duck tape arrows on the floor?

7.  Pointless children’s activities.  Yes, we know that interactive daycare is very trendy at your Museum curator school.  But all the space they have devoted to it is taking away from all the space for ADULTS, who actually visit museums because they want to, not because their parents or teachers made them.  If you want your kids to do arts and crafts, and be monitored by specially trained museum staff, put them in day care.

8.  Political correctness run amok.  It is very hard to have a museum dedicated to American history and NOT convey the impression that America is a pretty AWESOME place.  But they try.

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About No One

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41 Responses to Review of National Museum of American History, DC

  1. Og says:

    Concur. I am a museum geek, and I hate a badly run one. One potential caveat is that many documents are susceptible to damage caused by large amounts of exposure to light, so the documents are often dimly lit. On the other hand, in a museum run by professionals, you can look at the original dimly lit protected document, and then leisurely read a LARGE WELL LIT DUPLICATE. I will make a point of not going there.

    How have you been, boss?

    Like

    • No One says:

      I should have mentioned that all the documents on display were labeled “REPLICA”, for likely just the very reason you mention. Good news: old steam engines are impervious to harsh lighting.
      When I say inadequate lighting, I mean there is no way anyone could read the fine print on anything or examine an artfully crafted object. It was certainly intentional. Either to keep people from looking at things too long and slowing down “throughput” or more likely to save energy. All museum staff in DC are Earth Warriors.

      Like

    • No One says:

      All is well locally. The Big Cheese is out of town. Not that we notice. He is normally out to lunch even when he is in town. But the traffic works a little better with a couple fewer motorcades.

      Like

  2. Og says:

    yeah. That’s just dumbassery. Especially when LED lighting is available that is both very bright and very economical. Damned monkeys.

    Like

    • No One says:

      Exactly.

      And I didn’t even mention the effort they put into the “women on money” display. As if getting your picture on money was an achievement, and not something that politically correct trolls a hundred years later did to make their minions happy.

      Like

  3. Og says:

    Good. I’m getting ready to build a heavy barrelled AR. I may call on your wisdom.

    Like

  4. Og says:

    lol. Well, it is what it is. I think there’s a hundred barrel makers and they’re all probably just fine. What I really need to know is if there is a large difference in small parts, like I was going to put timney in for the trigger group because I know them and I like them but I imagine there are others just as good if maybe not better? And there doesn’t seem to be a lot if any difference between other internals.

    Like

    • No One says:

      I can’t help you there. You are the only one I have ever heard of even having a bad small part. I’m not even sure how much commonality there is between ar10 and ar15 parts

      Like

    • No One says:

      I can’t help you there. You are the only one I have ever heard of even having a bad small part. I’m not even sure how much commonality there is between ar10 and ar15 parts. My own barrel selection was at a gun show and consisted of, “OOH! SHINEY!”.

      Like

    • No One says:

      My preference is to avoid blackout .300 due to the possibility of ammo mixup in your 223 gun. I like my ammo calibers strictly in small, medium and large with no “almost large” sizes. So cross mixing isn’t possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Og says:

    yeah, i still have that defective hammer. Weird. Still, a Timney trigger group eliminates all those issues. I do hear a lot of crap about titanium firing pins etc but I get the feeling it is all just that, crap.

    Like

    • No One says:

      Not crap. MARKETING! a titanium firing pin will last 500 years without oil,( if you don’t use it). So you can pass it down to your grandkids. likely more than you need. I do keep a spare firing pin in case of breakage even though I have never heard of one breaking. Stainless is good enough for me.

      Like

  6. Og says:

    That’s the kind of wisdom I’m looking for,

    Like

  7. No One says:

    If you get enough titanium you can build an attack submarine or a jet fighter engine. Or even use it as Money after the apacalypse.

    Like

  8. Og says:

    lol. I have buckets of the stuff, scrap from projects. One person in maybe ten theousand know what to do with it. You still got the same email?

    Like

  9. patrick kelly says:

    RE: AR Triggers:

    Other good drop-in style are CMC, and P.O.F. USA. Geissele has a good rep with the Nat’l Match crowd, but they’re not drop-in.

    Og, is your heavy barrel AR mostly for range/target shooting? If so, you’re gonna love a nice, crisp 3-4lb pull compared to the mil-spec grade triggers.

    Like

  10. patrick kelly says:

    Oh, what you want is one of those Ubber Ninja Operator Triggers.

    Like

  11. Og says:

    lol. I’m not an operator, I’m a mechanic. Shit, not one in ten thousand even knows what that really means anymore. I am not going to be out in black parachute pants with 47 pockets rolling from concealment to concealment popping off bad guys. I’m gonna go to the longest range I can find, and put holes in pieces of paper. And while I’m at it, I may fill some water bottles full of colored water and shoot at them. But a decent trigger and the right barrel can make a lot of difference.

    Like

    • No One says:

      I’m an operations,research analyst. I measure performance and separate myth, marketing, and fact. In most cases I find a non-measurable difference in real effect on target. This attitude makes me very unpopular with fans, advocates, marketers and true believers.

      Like

  12. Og says:

    lol. Indeed. Tell me what you can about sights, like Trijicon and Aimpont, which I presume are strictly for short distances, and longer distance scopes. I know you have a nicer scope on your heavy barreled rifle, I’m curious what got you to pick that specific model, whatever it was.

    Like

    • No One says:

      I have a $300 super sniper made by tasco. 16x fixed power. It was recommended at the Quantico shooting club by several guys as a good compromise between quality and price. I have no regrets. It really helps me see the 300m targets better and at 100m I can see the holes I make.

      On my carbine I have a $1200 4x trijicon complete with 62gr BDC and bible verse (jn 8:13). It is,a huge in prove mentioned over a red dot or iron sight and it works fine at 50 yards to 500. It’s durable and holds its zero and the BDC is dead on when shooting green tips. For close combat, no sights are needed. Point and click. I personally believe iron sights are obsolete and even cheap glass, a red dot or a hologram provide superior hit capability. I don’t waste money on buying iron sights for any AR since I already know I will never use it. Naturally there are people who swear by iron sights. Same guys who think bayonets are decisive in battle.

      Like

  13. Og says:

    I like iron for hunting close in. On hunting rifles. I’m pretty good with them. Anything over 50 yards I want glass. I like the sound of that trijicon.

    Like

  14. Og says:

    I do like the bible verse. I wonder if the chinese knockoffs have it also

    Like

  15. Og says:

    Do you think it would be worth putting an Acog on a longer range rifle? If I build the heavy barrel I doubt I’ll ever use it past 200 yards.

    Like

  16. patrick kelly says:

    “I’m gonna go to the longest range I can find, and put holes in pieces of paper. ”

    The SWFA Super Snipers are the best bang for the buck. I have a 20x on a Colt HBAR. I don’t recommend the 20x for anything other than paper punching from the bench or prone with bipod or other support, and the 10x is plenty for that if you’re not going to get out beyond 500 yds much.

    “Do you think it would be worth putting an Acog on a longer range rifle?”

    Not for a paper puncher, you’re paying for the battle proven, toughness and construction. The glass is excellent, and like No One says the BDC is dead on out to 500 yds with the Nato spec 62gr rounds through a 16″ barrel.

    I’d prefer a variable, 3-15x on a Range AR, but that’s just my opinion. The Acog would work fine if you’re not shooting targets smaller than a watermelon beyond 200yds. It’s just easier to see smaller stuff with more magnification **if the glass is good quality**. I can usually see 22 cal holes on paper out to 200yds at 15x, especially if you use those splatter targets. Depends on lighting, how tired my old eyes are, etc.

    Like

  17. patrick kelly says:

    “I haven’t tested other brands. I’m pretty sure you can find comparable quality for a third that price”

    I just remembered, a really bargain sleeper scope for the 200yd target shooting described is the Bushnell AR 3-9 with BDC reticle. Less than $150 most places I’ve seen them online, sometimes on sale for much closer to $100.

    A few weeks back I put about 30 rounds through a friends AR equiped with one, and the BDC was dead on at 50, 100, and 200 yds. It has a side focus/parallax adjustment, which is rare for a 3-9, felt and looked like quality way beyond it’s price.

    Like

  18. Og says:

    I think I’ll put one of the bushnells on my M4gery.

    Like

    • No One says:

      I also recommend a single point scope mount/release system. They don’t need to be expensive and the zero stays pretty true if you mount it consistently.

      Like

  19. Og says:

    Nice. Thanks!

    Like

  20. Heresolong says:

    Iron sights are sort of nice if your batteries run out. Just in case, you know.

    I had heard that the Super Sniper quality had dropped off dramatically when it became SWFA instead of Tasco. Am I wrong on this? I’m looking for a good scope for one of my M1As.

    Like

  21. blueinfantry says:

    Heresolong… I agree with Patrick Kelly. SWFA scopes give you more bang for your buck. I have the fixed 10 power models on Remington 700s in .223, .308, and .300 Win Mag. No problems whatsoever in over 6 years. The quality is fine and actually improved since the design was purchased from Tasco. Good article on the scope here… http://www.snipercentral.com/swfa-ss-10x42mm-tactical-rifle-scope/

    Like

    • No One says:

      Thanks for the review. The engineering side of my brain chafes at mentions of “superior quality glass” when there is no objective measure for that superiority included. I must admit, when I am looking through them at the gun show, I can’t tell the difference. So most reviews and recommendations fall to the lowest form of judgement, “trust me, I’m an expert”.

      Liked by 1 person

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