The “whites only” lunch counter that helped to spark the civil rights movement is on display for the reopening of the National Museum of American History in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008. Smithsonian staff member Maverick Parker works in the background, preparing the museum for the public when the doors open on Friday, Nov. 21.


WASHINGTON (AP) _ The National Museum of American History has reopened after a two-year, $85 million renovation.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell read President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on Friday morning to a crowd of at least 200 people who had gathered on the museum’s steps before the doors opened.

Costumed historic characters portraying George and Martha Washington, among others, are on hand for a three-day festival to celebrate the reopening.

Inside, visitors found favorite exhibits such as Kermit the Frog and a gallery devoted to the American presidency.

A line quickly formed outside the Star-Spangled Banner gallery. The museum opened with the firing of a cannon from that era.

A side note, tonight is the last night for the 4 story light show on the NMAH building. It will be projected from 5 -10 pm.

More Virginia History-

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, the lunch counters at Miller & Rhoads and Thalhimers department stores in Richmond both were scenes of protest because of segregated lunch counters. For those of you who missed the lunch counter era of huge department stores, just hearing about it might seem meaningless.

Virginia managed to survive massive resistance and school closings in 4 different localities. To my knowledge, Virginia was never associated with the violence one thinks of during the days of desegregation. Perhaps Virginia is for lover and handles change well. Did we not just turn Virgina blue?

Further reading on Virginia’s Civil Rights history is more important than ever. In 1989 Virginia elected its first black governor since Reconstruction and on November 4, 2008, not only voted Democratic for the first time since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but also voted Democratic for the first Black President of the United States.

6 Thoughts to “Museum of American History Reopens: Glimpse of VA History Emerges”

  1. Juturna

    I think the most recent 10 years in this country have been more polarizing that anytime in our modern history. We are moving to a ‘class’ war – economic war. This is far more dangerous and far more subtle than ‘white’s only’ –


  2. ShellyB

    I think the danger is there are now all sorts of ways to communicate and propagate hate. Not long ago there were very few avenues. Basically hate groups could print their own newsletters, that was all. Now they have cable news programs, talk radio, blogs, websites, etc.

  3. Moon-howler

    Juturna and Shellyb, you have both made excellent points. We could take it a step further and extend your premise to terrorism also.

    There is almost no information that is not accessible. It is very easy for some to sit behind a computer and grind out all sorts of things most wouldnt say in public.

  4. Juturna

    Even scarier is that some DO say them in public!!!

  5. Moon-howler

    At least you have a general idea of what you are dealing with if things are said publically. Just think if you lived next door to the imperial wizard and didn’t realize it.

  6. I’m glad those days are past. Progress has been made. Still a long road ahead, but at least there’s a long one behind as well.

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