The other Smithsonian Air & Space Museum: The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

With the Air & Space Museum on the Mall in Washington closed (until the fall of 2022), in July 2021 I visited the "other" Air & Space Museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is an annex near Dulles International Airport that houses aircraft and spacecraft. Covering 17 acres, the annex's holdings range from the earliest days of flight . . .

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - Smithsonian Air & Space Annex

. . . to World War II, including this Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat . . .

Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

. . . and the "Enola Gay," a B-29 Superfortress.

B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay"

Also on display, space shuttle "Discovery," along with several satellites.

The Space Shuttle "Discovery" at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The highlight of the collection for me was the SR-71A Blackbird.

SR-71A Blackbird - top view - at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center


SR-71A Blackbird - Floor view - at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Unlike the museum on the Mall, there are few traditional museum displays. Instead of pictures and diagrams, here you get a close look at the planes and spacecraft themselves.

I hadn't set out to visit the annex. I was visiting the DC area on short notice during Covid, so hadn't been able to get passes in advance. Instead, I competed for the very small number of passes available that morning. Despite being online the second the Smithsonian system opened, the passes to all the Smithsonian museums except this one were gone within seconds.

I'd been to Washington several times since the Center opened but had never bothered to make the drive. I'm glad I did.

If you love aircraft and spacecraft, this museum is well worth the trip even after Air & Space on the Mall has reopened. The location near Dulles means you don't have to deal with DC traffic, there's plenty of free parking, and there aren't the crowds that you have with the museums on the Mall. 

Finally, a note on the name. Here's the story: In 1958 at the age of 12, Steven Udvar-Házy and his family fled to the United States from Soviet-occupied Hungary. In 1973, at the age of 27, he formed International Lease Finance with his son and a fellow Hungarian ex-pat to lease aircraft. Starting with a single DC-8, the company grew to be one of  the two largest aircraft leasing companies in the world. His $66 million grant to the Smithsonian enabled them build the annex. (More at his entry on Wikipedia.)

What a great American success story. As someone who is passionate about history, I wish more institutions provided the background on their major benefactors.

Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp  |  The Pursuit of History


Photos by Lee Wright, founder of the History List. Photos are available under a Creative Commons license. (CC BY 2.0) These photos were taken in July 2021.




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The Lincoln Memorial at 100

The Lincoln Memorial at night from a distance

On May 30, 1922, one hundred years ago to the day, the Lincoln Memorial, was dedicated.

The memorial, which stands at the far western end of the National Mall in Washington, D. C., honors Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. The ceremony was attended by over 50,000 people and was broadcast across the nation via radio. Notable attendees included President Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft, Chief Justice of the United States and former president who had signed the bill to create a memorial to Abraham Lincoln in February 1911, Dr. Robert Morton, President of Tuskegee Institute, and Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's son and a former secretary of war and ambassador to Great Britain.

The memorial was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and is adorned with ancient symbols of unity and strength. It was designed by Henry Bacon, a New York architect. The memorial features a statue of a seated Lincoln, sculpted by Daniel Chester French from Massachusetts. Other notable sculptures by French include The Minute Man at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, (1874), and the Statue of The Republic, the 65-foot centerpiece of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago (1893).

Lincoln Memorial Statue - at the foot of the statue

In the interior of the memorial, Ernest C. Bairstow carved the Gettysburg Address (pictured below) and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Also inside  the memorial are two murals, created by Jules Guerin, with allegorical depictions of what were considered Lincoln’s greatest accomplishments as president, the reunification of the United States after the Civil War and the emancipation of more than four million enslaved people.

The Gettysburg Address on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial

This is surely one of the most beloved memorials in America, and it's hard to imagine it as looking different, but browse these other concepts for the memorial, including alternatives from Bacon, who was eventually selected.

The Lincoln Memorial at night

See the National Park Service Features of the Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln Memorial Design and Symbolism pages for more details and images.



Written by Donna Keesling, Editor, The History List

Photos by Lee Wright, founder of The History List. The photos were taken in July 2021 and are available under a Creative Commons license. (CC BY 2.0)



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April 25, 2022

Win a chance to be aboard USS Constitution on their 4th of July turnaround

USS Constitution July 4 Turnaround
Photo by Chris DeversCC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Get the chance to ride aboard the USS Constitution as it sails in Boston Harbor to celebrate America's Independence on Monday, July 4.

This annual event is one of the few times that the ship is taken out of its berth in the Charlestown Navy Yard.  There is a lottery for the highly-prized free tickets to be able to sail aboard the ship during the turnaround.  (The ship is actually moved by tug; it's not under sail.)

Click here to apply in this year's lottery.

Submission deadline is on June 3, 2022. A winner will be selected on June 8, 2022 and notified by email.

Watch a short video of the USS Constitution turnaround taken a few years ago:


Shop our USS Constitution limited edition print

This original and commissioned design honors the USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, and is the oldest ship of any kind still afloat and is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships.

Available in a very limited edition archival print, small poster, cards, sticker, and magnet. Explore the complete collection.

USS Constitution products from The History List store.


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April 18, 2023

Patriots' Day 2022: Comprehensive schedule for all activities April 16 through April 24


Updated April 18 at 1 am

Sources are listed at the end. Check the websites of the towns and local organizations to confirm, especially if the weather appears inclement.


Saturday, April 16

9:30 am — Lexington: The Lexington Minutemen are called to arms by Captain Parker at 9:30 am on Lexington Green and march to the battle site for a noon ceremony at the Parker’s Revenge site in Minute Man National Historical Park.

Noon — Lincoln: Civilian evacuees on the Battle Road leave from the Smith House.

1 pm — Minute Man National Historical Park: Parker’s Revenge, a tactical scenario along the historical road near the Whittemore House  by British and Colonial soldiers. 

3 pm - 4 pm — Lexington: Re-enactors assemble at Munroe Tavern. British troops arrive on the retreat from Concord and occupy the Tavern, tending to their wounded and planning their next steps. The Tavern will be open for tours.

4 pm - 5 pm — Lexington: A battle in the American Revolution will be demonstrated for the public in Tower Park, a natural amphitheater near Munroe Tavern.

Sunday, April 17

1:30 - 4:30 pm — Minute Man National Historical Park — Col. Barrett House: Intense military preparations at the Col. Barrett House. British soldiers will arrive and search the grounds.

5 pm — Acton: The Acton Minutemen will portray the spreading of the alarm throughout Acton with a horse and rider galloping past the homes of Acton’s four militia leaders. At the historic Faulkner Homestead, Colonel Faulkner himself will fire three alarm shots into the air with his musket, and those shots will be repeated again and again off in the distance as the alarm is spread.

  • 5:00 pm — Robbins' Home site, soccer fields at the bottom of Concord Rd.
  • 5:20 pm — Isaac Davis Homestead at 39 Hayward Road
  • 5:40 pm — Faulkner Homestead at 5 High St. in South Acton at the corner of Route 27
  • 5:55 pm — Liberty Tree Farm at 24 Liberty St. in South Acton

7 pm — Lincoln: Alarm and Muster at the White Church on the library lawn opposite First Parish, at 3 Bedford Road.

11:30 pm — Lexington: Paul Revere arrives at the Hancock/Clarke House on Hancock Street.

Monday, April 18

4:15 am — Stow: The Annual Trail March and Parade starts from Stow Lower Common. Fiifes and drums and the firing of the muskets awaken the townsfolk along the route. The Minutemen arrive at the North Bridge around 9 am join the Concord parade.

4:45 am — Westford: Col. John Robinson Trail March. Members of the Westford Colonial Minutemen walk the route travelled by the Westford militia and minute companies used when they answered the alarm on April 19th, 1775. You are invited to join this 10-mile walk, which ends at North Bridge in Concord.  

5:30 am — Lexington: This event recreates the skirmish on Lexington Green the morning of April 19, 1775 that marked the beginning of the American Revolution. Following the ringing of the bell in the Old Belfry, members of the Lexington Training Band (now known as the Minutemen) gather on Lexington Green to await the column of British Regulars as they march into the town center. A shot rings out, the skirmish follows, and the British column marches on towards Concord leaving dead and wounded behind.   

6 am — Lexington: Pancake Breakfasts, nominal cost

St. Brigid Church, 2001 Massachusetts Avenue, sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 160. 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Nominal cost. 

First Baptist Church, 1580 Massachusetts Avenue (across from the police station). 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Nominal cost.

6 am — Acton: Isaac Davis March to Concord starting at the Isaac Davis Homestead at 37 Hayward Road, arriving at North Bridge at 9 am.

6:40 am — Lincoln: Tribute and march to Concord beginning outside Bemis Hall at 15 Bedford Road. The Lincoln Minute Men will salute the patriots buried in the Old Meetinghouse Cemetery. Roll call is read, fifers play a lament, minute men mysteriously emerge from the morning mists in the cemetery, and a musket salute is fired. The Minute Men begin their march along Sandy Pond Road toward Concord with colonial music and musket fire. All ages welcome to join the march.

7:30 am — Lexington: Sunrise Youth Parade starting at Munroe Cemetery driveway on Massachusetts Avenue.

8 am — Minute Man National Historical Park — North Bridge: Commemoration of the Battle at North Bridge with British and colonial reenactors and park rangers and volunteers.

8:30 am — Minute Man National Historical Park — North Bridge: Mourn Arms Ceremony at the British Graves with British Regulars from the King's Own 4th Regiment of Foot, Tenth Regiment of Foot, and First Foot Guards will Mourn Arms and salute the fallen soldiers of the 4th.

9 am — Concord: Patriots' Day Parade in Concord Center.

10 am — Lexington: Patriots' Day Road Race starting at Lexington Green.

1 pm — Lexington: Paul Revere arrives at Lexington Green

2 pm — Lexington: Patriots' Day Parade down Massachusetts Avenue through East Lexington and Lexington Center.

8 pm — Minute Man National Historical Park — North Bridge Visitor Center: Patriot vigil and lantern procession, with poetry, music, and a recitation of the names of the soldiers who gave their lives on April 19. If you wish to participate in the lantern procession, please bring a lantern with a real candle, not an LED candle and not a flashlight.


Tuesday, April 19

3:45 am — Wayland: The Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute will march from First Church in Wayland and later at 5:30 am gather in Sudbury Center and march to North Bridge, arriving at approximately 11:30 am, and will fire a salute.

12:30 pm - 4 pm — Minute Man National Park: National Park Rangers will lead an immersive five-mile guided Battle Road trail hike with guided interpretation and immersive living history elements. This program is free and open to the public; registration is required to reserve a seat on the post-program shuttle bus returning participants to their vehicles. Note: I understand that, as of April 17, there is no more space on the shuttle.

6:30 - 8 pm — Westford: Patriots' Day Candlelight Tribute at Fairview Cemetery (Tadmuck Road entrance). Access the service records of Westford’s Revolutionary War Soldiers on your phone or tablet as you stroll through the cemetery. Colonial interpreters will be present to answer questions. 


Sunday, April 24

2 pm — Lincoln: Old Burial Ground Tribute. The Lincoln Minute Men will assemble at the Pierce House and at 2:30 pm march to the Town Cemetery on Lexington Road accompanied by clergy, honored guests, and a contingent of British Regulars and bagpiper. Cravesite ceremonies will honor the Lincoln patriots of the Revolution and the five British soldiers who were killed in Lincoln on April 19, 1775, and are buried there. Refreshments will be served at the Pierce House afterward.


Sources: Battle Road, from His Majesty's 10th Regiment of Foot, Minute Man National Historical Park, Friends of Minute Man, and the Town of Lexington.

Photos: Patriots Day 2008 at Minute Man National Historical Park, by Lee Wright, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Editor: Lee Wright, based heavily on the excellent information on the Battle Road site, and the others listed above under Sources.

Shop our Lexington and Concord "1775" Collection

Our original design recognizes the events on Lexington Green and at North Bridge in Concord that took place on April 19, 1775 and marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. 

Lexington and Concord "1775" Collection



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The greatest monument in Washington you've never noticed: The U.S. Grant Memorial

"Celebrated as the largest equestrian monument in the U.S., it is a tour de force of monumental sculpture. . . . It marks the eastern terminus of the National Mall and faces the Lincoln Memorial almost two miles to the west, symbolically linking the President and the General who fought to save the Union. . . . It is a remarkable achievement by a sculptor who, with little formal training, toiled twenty years to translate his grand vision into cast bronze."

The Architect of the Capitol describing the U.S. Grant Memorial, which is located on the West (Mall) side of the Capitol.

It was the largest bronze sculpture cast in the United States at the time.

Edward Pearce Caseys was the architect and Henry Merwin Shrady the sculptor. Their entry was selected by a panel that included renowned sculptors Daniel Chester French and Augustus Saint-Gaudens

The memorial was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Grant's birth, April 27, 1922.  Shrady had died two weeks earlier.

The 200th anniversary of Grant's birth is less than two weeks away.

Lee Wright | Founder | The History List | History Camp | The Pursuit of History


Sources for the text: The Architect of the Capitol and Wikipedia.

All photos are by the author and available under a Creative Commons license. (CC BY 2.0)  More images are in this Flicker album.





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