On our first full day in Washington, D.C. we were camera free, as the places we visited did not allow photographs. Our first endeavor was to wait 11/2 hours in line for a tour of the White House (even though we had an appointment). The tour was too rushed for me. I cannot believe how many of our presidents walked where I walked. It was worth the wait in line to feel the history. After the tour we went to the White House Visitor Center. We saw a Lincoln walking around shopping (he also popped up on a tour of the Capitol the next day).
Then we went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We saw several exhibits. There was one exhibit on German propaganda called State of Deception. The main exhibit was tough to go through, but it was very important to see. They had rooms full of shoes to give an idea of the number of victims. There was also a children's exhibit that told the story from a child's perspective . . . Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), the ghettos, and then the concentration camps. We also got to see a survivor talk. Her name was Nesse Godin, and she was from Lithuania. She was liberated from the Stutthof concentration camp by Soviet troops.
On the way to the Smithsonian Visitor Center, we stopped by the USDA Forest Service Information Center. They had a small group of displays, including Smokey's office with an animatronic bear. The Smithsonian Visitor Center is known as "the Castle." We saw the crypt of James Smithson, who donated the money "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."
Finally, we went to the International Spy Museum. It was one of the best museums I have toured. Part of the set up was that you assume the role of a spy and you had to pick out your own identity. I liked the gadgets, in particular a camera watch. I climbed into the ductwork and overheard a meeting of Cuban officials. There were various films to watch, like picking locks and bugging rooms. They also suggested that Francis Bacon was a spy and actually wrote Shakespeare's plays! Well, I think Shakespeare wrote his own plays. At the gift shop I got a "Top Secret" stamp and a sideways viewer.