However, visiting DC as a tourist with my family last week showed me DC has a lot more to offer as our capital. In this tiny district all linked by the metro, an unbelievable amount of our history, culture, art and national narratives are displayed and celebrated.
In large part due to the Smithsonian museum system, the public can access this interactive learning experience - free of charge. As I walked slowly through an exhibit on late 19th century America, I was excited to review all I had learned in American history, but I was more excited to see young children walking with their parents who explained things in simple terms, to see college students, maybe on a date, discussing historical events, and to see a single adult walking by themselves, stopping to read, to learn.
I often become disappointed by what is often reported as our nation's lack of knowledge of our history, political system and international issues. But as I walked around DC, I was inspired by this city of education, and the transfer of education into domestic and international policy. The National Mall is such a fantastic concept. You can walk from the National Gallery of Art and see the only DaVinci in the country, admire fossils, and walk across the street to read the charters of freedom, or to Capitol Hill. It's a representation of the America we like to think of - full of opportunity.