Satisfy sky-centric curiosity with the College Park Aviation Museum's 27,000 square feet of cloud-plowing attractions, set on the historic grounds of the world's oldest continuously operating airport. This Smithsonian-affiliated museum's pride is a restoration shop, which makes once-grand beauties look as flight-ready as a seagull strapped to a jet pack. Ten vintage and reproduced aircraft are arrayed in the main gallery, including a reproduction of the Wright Model B from 1910 and a 1941 Boeing Stearman. Exhibits chart the nonvehicular history of flight, such as the Fly Now! showcase of international aviation posters dating back to 1860. Petite pilots may explore kid-friendly displays, sitting in the cockpit of the Imagination Plane, a 1939 blue Taylorcraft, or go to the hands-on room to dress in flight-ready uniform.
Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. escorts guests on an interactive journey through American history. Only here, the past isn't manifested through movies, but through wax. Inside, The President's Gallery brings visitors face-to-face with all 44 US presidents, from Harry Truman to Abe Lincoln and his signature spinning bowtie. Cultural leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., stand tall nearby, and rock stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan compose silent jam sessions in the Music Room. Hollywood stars, sports heroes, and nonpresidential political figures round out the collection, which can be visited 365 days a year.
Now in its 21st year, the AFI Latin American Film Festival celebrates hitting the drinking age by hosting an array of cinematic achievements by Latin American filmmakers, with this year’s slate of films extending to motion pictures from Spain and Portugal. The 2010 lineup includes Revolution, a collection of short films from 10 Mexican moviemakers, including actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, that explores the themes of the Mexican Revolution on its 100th anniversary. Those with an off-kilter sense of humor or an unhealthy love for con-artistry can check out Uruguay’s Bad Day to Go Fishing, which follows a wrestler and his manager as they navigate through South America, putting on fake exhibitions of strength. Venezuela’s Story of a Day enthralls its viewers by poetically chronicling the numerous parties, feasts, and chores in a Venezuelan village, and Honduras’s Love and Beans comically details marital mysteries and draws attention to the plight of beans everywhere. Check the full lineup to see how the festival's schedule of silver-screen offerings matches up to your own sci-fi screenplay about the 1993 Buffalo Bills.
It’s only fitting that a museum devoted to architecture is itself housed in a formidable structure. The National Building Museum's 19th-century edifice greets visitors with somber Union soldiers sculpted into the exterior’s 1,200-foot frieze. Corinthian columns 75 feet high and built with 70,000 bricks lead into the cavernous Great Hall, which soars up to 159 feet in height and captures the echo of groups as they follow the color-coded banners towards exhibits devoted to American and international architecture, engineering, and design. Drawing on hands-on children’s toys, drawings, photographs, and models, the exhibits delve into everything from the history of the American home to the evolution of building blocks and other architectural toys. Future-facing exhibits, meanwhile, focus on topics such as sustainable school buildings that employ recycled construction materials and singing plants instead of teachers. The museum shop practices what it preaches with an award-winning selection of sustainable housewares, toys, and books.
The Crime Museum shines a light on the dark underbelly of society with more than 100 interactive events spread across three stories and 25,000 square feet of gallery space. After resting their weary bones in an unplugged electric chair, fans of CSI can live out television fantasies at the Crime Scene Investigation event, where they can learn what it takes to be a forensic scientist and watch professionals in action before trying to determine whether or not fellow museum-goers exhibit the traits of serial killers. The event also serves as a crash course in fingerprinting, DNA testing, fraudulent-check investigation, and dental-impression and ballistics analysis. The museum?s many permanent events include A Notorious History of American Crime, about the country's felonious forefathers, and an exploration into one of the most heinous masterminds of modern times in the Ted Kaczynski: The Unabomber event.
Considered to be the country's only public museum devoted to the history of global espionage, the International Spy Museum teems with multimedia displays, hands-on activities, and educational events. Filled with low-lit halls and mysterious doors, the museum backs up its exhibits with experience; many of its board members, staff, and speakers are former spies. Executive Director Peter Earnest, for one, spent more than 35 years in the CIA and its National Clandestine Service; frequent speaker Oleg Kalugin once held a position as major general of the KGB. Through special talks and an array of exhibits, the group reveals several hundred years of spy techniques and gadgetry, showcases connections between real spies and pop culture, and draws from international backgrounds to grant a global perspective.
In the Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains exhibit, visitors explore the most memorable villains from throughout the James Bond film series, discovering the role the series played in shaping public perception of spying and exploring how the villains changed to reflect their times. Featuring over 110 movie and historic artifacts, a series galleries allows visitors to learn about the wide variety of evildoers from many perspectives. For an additional charge, guests can opt to embark on a simulated covert mission entirely based on real intelligence case files in Operation Spy, a one-hour interactive exhibit during which participants ride in simulated truck beds and use video surveillance to find leaked nuclear-trigger technology in a fictional country.