Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Day in Raleigh

Yesterday my wife, stepdaughter, and I took a family outing to Raleigh. The main purpose of this trip was to visit the NC Museum of Art to see the Temples and Tombs exhibit, a special traveling exhibit of ancient Egyptian artifacts from the British Museum. My wife has always had an interest in this particular historical period, so this was an exhibit she didn't want to pass up. While I'm not the biggest fan of ancient Egypt, nor very knowledgeable about it, I did enjoy the exhibit. I thought we'd stick around and see more of the museum's permanent collection afterward, but lunch seemed to be more important to my stepdaughter at that point, so we left.

After lunch we headed downtown to the NC Museum of History. My wife wanted to see the recently installed exhibit on North Carolina's military history. I like the concept of this exhibit, but it certainly could have been done better. Since it covers everything from the American Revolution to the present war on terror, nothing is really given a thorough treatment. The French and Indian War is all but neglected, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War are given very little space, the Korean War and the Vietnam War are almost inseparable if you aren't paying attention and are crammed into a rather small area, and the current war on terror gets more attention than almost all other wars, except the Revolution, Civil War, and World War II. The Spanish-American War and World War I sections are larger than I expected. The choice of artifacts displayed throughout the exhibit is very good. I particularly enjoyed seeing General William Dorsey Pender's uniform (his coat is somewhat unique). I also was glad to see a pre-war photograph of James I. Waddell in his US Navy uniform, as well as his US Navy officer's sword. It was especially interesting to me since I have recently written an encyclopedia entry on Waddell.

Finally, since my stepdaugher isn't really interested in history or art, we made one final stop at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. After taking her to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores just the day before, I didn't think she'd care to see anymore wildlife, but I was wrong. So, instead of visiting the State Capitol, as had been my plan, we ended the day looking at animals. But, everyone was happy at the end of the day, so the trip was a successful one.

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