Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Friday, June 25, 2021

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Date of Visit:
June 18, 2021

Our visit to Charles Pinckney NHS was the first stop as part of our weekend trip to Hilton Head to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday. Mik probably would’ve rather chosen to visit Fort Sumter if he could’ve picked, but currently they are doing dock work and it’s more inaccessible than normal. Charles Pinckney NHS site just said that the historic house was closed, so we figured it probably wasn’t accessible anyways and it wouldn’t really affect our experience. Plus, it’s not far from where we live now that we could always go back if we wanted to see more. Turned out it is just in phased reopening with the only thing still closed being the store (would’ve been nice if I could have gotten the National Park Passport stickers as I never got the 2020 set and now also need the 2021 set).

The parking lot is a little rough with it not being paved and the grass has gotten a little wild taking up part of some spots.

By the parking lot there is a covered seating area and bathrooms. Mik was impressed that the bathrooms had buttons to open the doors and that was before we discovered they also had a family bathroom in the visitor center.

The path from here to the visitor center (i.e. the historic house) and around the house are paved.

The visitor center has a lift so that wheelchairs can access it. The lift goes up to the porch and then you can enter through the side door that has you enter through the back of the shop. While the shop is “closed,” the wheelchair can still go through it as really it was only still closed because they have not got the staffing and registers set back up.

The visitor center contains three rooms with exhibits about Charles Pinckney, the history of the farm, and a little on the region. There is also a family accessible bathroom by the room that they show a film in.

Mik wasn’t sure about doing the trail as it was hot and humid. Mom and him almost just stayed in the visitor center where the ranger had offered to put in the other films they had. Ultimately, Mik decided to go because it was a pretty short trail even though we couldn’t do it as a loop and had to do it as two short there and back trails as the nature trail between the slave community and boardwalk is through the woods with tree roots and poison ivy to watch for, etc. (Ranger was very good at being able to describe the whole trail and accessibility.)

We did the part of the trail that went past the model rice trunk and to the boardwalk first. This path looks like wood chips, which maybe it is, but it is packed down and was pretty much the same as rolling on the sidewalk/paved paths.

At the end of the boardwalk area, Mik was excited to get a snuggly photo with Mom and I didn’t have to be the one to do it for once.

We then took the part of the trail that goes along the Historic Road Trace, which would have been the way towards Charleston in Pinckney’s time (including when George Washington visited in 1791).

The path from here to the slave community goes through grass. It is wide and we could have easily taken Mik on it, but he choose to just stay back in the shade than go on a bumpy ride.

Overall we enjoyed Charles Pinckney NHS as Mik really did get to experience it all (or at least as much as he wanted and not because it wasn’t accessible).

Destination Info:

1254 Long Point Rd
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Date of Visit: November 7, 2019

While Mission San Juan Capistrano is a historic site, it is mostly accessible. They even provide an accessible version of the map guide (reminds me of when we actually used to get guide maps at Disney and would grab the accessible version). The cost of admission includes a free audio tour, but we choose to not do that part. There isn’t a lot of signage for information and that would have made the experience better, but it also would have made it slower and as it was we ended up rushing through parts to finish seeing the site because we were hungry and tired of waiting to see things between the school groups coming through the areas.

As Mik had to go to the bathroom, we started our tour at the back of the second courtyard (there’s a family/companion bathroom back next to women’s back there).  Off of this courtyard, we particularly enjoyed the Mission Treasures exhibit.

We also enjoyed the garden area behind the West Wing. This area is marked on the map as uneven surfaces, but it is mainly just dirt paths.

Next we went through the Legacy of Saint Serra exhibit, but this was when Mik was getting hungry and annoyed with the constant school group tours. The guides and kids were good at staying out of the way as much as possible for their guide talk in each area, but some areas are quite small in the first place and groups were constantly coming through all the areas.

Thus, Mik and I sat in the courtyard for a few minutes for Dad to go in the Serra Chapel and then walked around the Ruins of the Great Stone Church for a few quick photos before leaving to go find some lunch. If it had been closer to 11am and the places near the mission were open, we probably would have gone back in after eating, but an early lunch and heading down to San Diego while there was no traffic ended up being much better than how we ended up in rush hour after the Petersen Auto Museum the day before.

Destination Info:
Mission San Juan Capistrano
26801 Ortega Hwy
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

Date of Visit: April 4, 2019

The entrance to the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument is at the back of the house from Second Street. There is a clear sign pointing up the stairs for entrance and the lift would be not be too hard to notice down a path to the left of the stairs except that the next door office building's accessible entrance sign happens to be very visible right past the stairs. Thus, we were initially confused on how to get up to the entrance.

The lift has a sign with a phone number you can call for access. We didn't even try it and just had Dad go upstairs and ask for the ranger to operate it. The ranger was really friendly and helpful. The only issue currently is that once you get up you have to go around to a side entrance, which is where they are currently doing some restoration work. The workers were really good about moving the ladder and getting out of the way, so we could get in (and later out), though. This entrance also even has an automatic button for opening.

We started our visit by watching the short introductory film about the National Women's Party, who used this house as their headquarters. We then proceeded to the main exhibit space on the first floor, which is accessed via another lift.

The first floor has three rooms of exhibits on the women's right to vote and equality movements. There is also a small gift shop. None of us went up to the second level, so not sure what we missed, but even just visiting the first floor was a worthwhile visit and the knowledgeable park rangers help interpret the site's significance very well.

One of favorite things was actually the stained glass in the entry.

Destination Info:
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
144 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

Monday, April 2, 2018

National Museum of American History: Cultivating America's Gardens

Date of Visit: April 1, 2018

Since we had about half an hour before seeing America's Musical Journeys, we checked out the exhibits on the first floor, which includes several that are temporary exhibit spaces that had changed since our last visit. In particular, we enjoyed the "Cultivating America's Gardens" exhibit, which I had forgot all about wanting to check otu.

This exhibit is the current one in the Smithsonian Library Gallery, which has been my favorite temporary exhibit space since we saw the "Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910" exhibit back in 2015. I just love how they use mainly books as the artifacts to give thematic history even when it's not really even so specifically about books like the science fiction one was.

Destination Info:
National Museum of American History
1400 Constitution Ave NW
Washington DC

Metro Accessibility Note: Closest metro station is Federal Triangle (Blue/Orange/Silver). Smithsonian (Blue/Orange/Silver) is often also recommended as nearby for this museum and if you take the escalator exit it probably is closer or same distance as Federal Triangle, but the elevator is several blocks further, so Federal Triangle is definitely closest if you are exiting Metro via elevator. We used to just use Archives (Yellow/Green) since it was a shorter train ride for us to take Yellow instead of Blue into D.C. and it's only a little more walking. Now that we live in the District, though, we just walk since it's free as well as usually faster.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Colonial National Historical Park: Yorktown Battlefield

Date of Visit: March 15, 2018

Visiting Jamestown/Yorktown has been something we've been wanting to do ever since we moved to Virginia almost four years ago. We didn't have time to do both this time, so I choose Yorktown since that seemed to be at least Dad's preference.

We started our visit with the ~15 minute movie at the visitor center. The movie was a pretty good overview of the battle. Mik wasn't a fan of how they had wheelchair spots at the back, but we had to sit in the row in front of him, but it isn't bad.

The visitor center also has a small museum. We all thought it was pretty cool that they had some of Washington's original tents in it. The ship walkthrough exhibit is also really well done, although it was almost too narrow to get through with the wheelchair and Mik freaked out about Dad taking him in it.

Mik's favorite part of the Visitor Center was the Lafayette Cannon.

After exploring the visitor center we decided to walk into the town and have some lunch and then check out the stuff we missed on our way back to the truck parked at the visitor center. The only place there was a sidewalk was along the riverwalk, but the traffic was light and walking in the street wasn't a big problem, although it is quite a hill to go down/up from the victory monument to the riverwalk. There is parking by the riverwalk, though, so the hill can be avoided.

We enjoyed lunch at the Yorktown Pub. It had two steps up to the main entrance, so we just took Mik up them and into the place. We found out when we were leaving that they do have a back entrance we could've used, but it really wasn't that difficult to just go out the front.

After lunch we walked along the riverwalk to where there was a bookstore. No luck finding any books we wanted, but it was surprisingly accessible for a used bookstore and Mik could actually browse through much of it.

On the way back to the visitor center, we stopped at the Yorktown Victory Monument. We ended up not exploring the stuff on Main Street because Mik was getting cold.

Since we didn't want to get home too late, we then decided to do just the Battlefield Tour drive. Mik stayed in the truck at most of the stops because there really wasn't much accessible to see. In fact, he only got out at the last stop at Surrender Field, which has an accessible trail.

Destination Info:
Colonial National Historical Park - Yorktown Battlefield
Accessibility page on their website
1000 Colonial Parkway
Yorktown, VA 23690

Monday, November 20, 2017

Museum of the Bible

Date of Visit: November 20, 2017

I had reserved our tickets for the Museum of the Bible as soon as they opened reservations and ended up with 8am tickets. Apparently, the museum doesn't open to the general public until 10am and the system shouldn't have let us, but they honored the tickets for the few of us that had ended up with the tickets as they do open at 8am for members (and sounds like also groups, but there were no groups). It ended up being a great way to enjoy the museum almost entirely to ourselves, which makes us think that museum membership is potentially worthwhile even if you only visit once.

The start of the museum is a little awkward because at least at this point I don't think anyone is showing up without tickets yet you are directed to the ticket counters to get started. I don't get why they don't just have people standing inside the door after security to scan your ticket like they do at the ballpark, for example. With there being less than ten people there at 8am it wasn't a big deal, but when we were leaving at 11:30am the line was backed up to security because there really isn't space for a line for the ticket counter. It just doesn't make sense other than they just really want to have you go to the ticket counter so they can try to get you to donate and do the paid attractions.

We started our visit on Floor 2 with the Bible in America exhibit. Mik had fun with the interactive Bible on the Map display. We kind of rushed through it, though, and also never got back around to the Bible in the World exhibit because we had 8:45am tickets for the Hebrew Bible on Floor 3.

On Floor 3, we ended up only checking out The World of Jesus of Nazareth exhibit because the Hebrew Bible was currently not working. The World of Jesus of Nazareth was an interesting exhibit designed to be an immersive experience that reminds me of visiting historic sites that have reenactors as there were a few people there acting as villagers that you could interact with. While it was kind of a small exhibit, it was probably our favorite because it was well done with there even being sound effects such as water splashing in the ritual bath area.

Our other favorite part of the museum was the elevators. The ones to the Mezzaine level are sort of interesting with the walls having script on it, but the ones between the main floors are really cool as they have video screens showing scenes on them. Also, the buttons are big and nicely labeled with what's on the floor rather than being just numbers.

The exhibit we spent most of our time in, though, was the History of the Bible. Here it was interesting to see not just the various Bibles, but the evolution of writing and printing in general as the some of the examples texts on display were cuneiform on clay, Torah scrolls, and illuminated Bibles. It was also interesting that it focused on how the texts became translated into more and more languages.

After the History of the Bible exhibit, it was around 10:30am and Mik was hungry. All along we had planned to try out the Manna Restaurant on the top floor, but they ended up not being open yet. Thus, instead, we checked out the Milk & Honey Cafe, which is worth visiting even if you don't get anything as there's a small display about the history of the building on one wall. In particular, it was interesting to learn that they took out every other floor in the building as part of converting it into the Museum of the Bible and it explains why the cafe level has such low ceilings as they preserved the original floor height in this area.

Overall we enjoyed the Museum of the Bible, although having it almost to ourselves probably significantly contributed to our ability to really enjoy what we did get around to seeing. We still plan to visit again to see the Hebrew Bible attraction and what we missed on Floor 2 and the temporary exhibits on Floor 5, but we'll probably have to become members because it really was nice to be able to start at 8am other than we were then done too early to check out the Manna Restaurant.

Destination Info:
Museum of the Bible
400 4th St SW
Washington DC 20024

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Date of Visit: July 15, 2017

We started our visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic with the movie in the Visitor Center. The theater is set up with areas in the back row as well as in the middle of the front row for wheelchairs. Upfront seemed too close, so we sat in back, although that then kind of seems too far as the size of the screen is somewhat small for the size of the room. It was still a very worthwhile movie to see, though.

After the movie, we headed up to the Birth Home, which was being done as an open house from 10am to 11:45am during our visit. When we got near the house we saw a sign pointing to an accessible entrance by the house next door. It turned out that was the access to the gift shop, which has a ramp up into it on the backside.

From the gift shop, they directed us over to the house from the backyard as that’s where the accessible entrance is to the house. They made it clear it was somewhat difficult that way, so it wasn’t unexpected that we had to go through the grass and there was a step up onto the paver sidewalk into the Birth Home backyard.

Once we were in the backyard, it isn’t clear what to do because the tour starts in front. Thus, we went down the path to the front, which is an easy access path and really the way to access the Birth Home. Once in front, there was a line down the sidewalk waiting for their turns. It was impossible to get to the back of the line and half the line ends up going up steps before you even get to the park rangers. Mom cut through the line to get up to the porch and ask the park rangers what to do. They didn’t exactly seem to have a protocol other than obviously the wheelchair enters through the back. Mom just suggested she’d wait in line and then they could let us in from the back when she got to the front.

Overall this concept worked except the park ranger let us in from the back and we just assumed they were letting us in because Mom was on the next tour. She was supposed to be, but the ranger letting the group in said they only had room for one more person and Mom thought she couldn’t join because she was saving space for us to join. No big deal as she just ended up one tour behind us and it’s not a long tour, but it kind of added to the house tour not really being all that worthwhile.

The Birth Home tour wasn’t bad, but they sure pack you in and it really felt rushed through without much information given. Also, it was only the first floor because the second floor was closed, which to some extent we knew could be the case because the lift to it might be out. However, it was unexpected that the second floor was off limits to all tours due to structural problems and there isn’t a notice about that on the website.

On the way back to the car from the Birth Home, we walked through the King Center outdoor area with the reflecting pool, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tomb, and an eternal flame. There are stairs to access the area from the street, but there is also a ramp on both ends and one end actually had the stairs closed off and only the ramp access was open.

Destination Info:
450 Auburn Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30312

Friday, July 14, 2017

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Date of Visit: July 13, 2017

We spent most of our visit to the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in the Visitor Center. Mom saw the movie, but Mik again wasn’t interested. Instead, we enjoyed the exhibit area.

We found the exhibit to be a good size in that it has a lot of information about the site and events along with artifacts while still being not that large of an exhibit overall.

One of the most interesting parts of the exhibit was the wall of windows that look outside to where they have put up some silhouette soldiers kind of as if the battle was going on.

We also walked some of the trails near the visitor center. The trails seem to be mostly paved paths and we certainly would’ve done a lot more of it including the other stops on the driving tour if it hadn’t been so hot and humid.

Monument Row behind the visitor center was the main part of the trail we checked out.

Mik also liked when we went into the woods behind the parking lot while waiting for Mom to finish checking out at the store. The trail didn’t have anything specific to see as far as we went (first sign, which really wasn’t far at all), but we liked that it did have information signs to read like when we did the Henry Hill Loop Trail at Manassas.

Destination Info:
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
2332 New Garden Road
Greensboro, NC 27410