When you first enter the museum, you are confronted with this. The woman you see in the background took my ticket. Normally, she would take my money.
As you walk in, you can't miss the dinosaurs.
They cover a good portion of the first floor,
although I took these photos from the second floor.
I actually wanted to visit the Museum of World Treasures for two reasons, the first of which was this section of the Berlin Wall. According to The Museum of World Treasures web site:
Why is the Berlin Wall displayed next to our dinosaurs?...This is the West Berlin side, where people could walk up to it and paint it as they chose. Some of you may remember I saw another portion of the wall two years ago when I, along with my friends Kathy and Sally, was at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS on another Smithsonian Day.
We would love to have this piece of history on the second floor in our World War II exhibit! Unfortunately it weighs 4.5 tons and is 12 feet tall. Our ceilings on the second floor are 11 feet high. We had to install supports in the basement to allow for its enormous weight. And there's no way to get it up the stairs.
This piece of the Berlin Wall is on loan to the Museum of World Treasures from the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS), whose archives are in Wichita.
AOSHS was given the wall from the Berlin American High School Alumni Association. We're not sure where it was located while it was still part of the original wall.
This is the East Berlin side of the wall. Originally, guards were placed in front of the wall, so people couldn't climb over it. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there was a 300-foot No Man's Land, an additional inner wall, soldiers patrolling with dogs, a raked ground that showed footprints, anti-vehicle trenches, electric fences, massive light systems, watchtowers, bunkers, and minefields.
I remember I had a friend who, upon hearing the wall had fallen, asked what the big deal was.
As shown above, the "simple" barbed wire fence was erected in the middle of the night on August 13, 1961. It was designed to keep the East Germans from fleeing to West Berlin. When the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, its destruction was nearly as instantaneous as its creation. For 28 years, the Berlin Wall had been a symbol of the Cold War and thus when it fell it was celebrated around the world.
I was shocked that my friend had not learned about the wall in school, so explaining the "big deal" was harder than I imagined it should be. For one thing, where a person went to sleep on August 12, 1961 meant where they were stuck for decades, often being separated by family, friends, and co-workers.
Once I saw the section of the Berlin Wall, there was an exhibit on the second floor I wanted to see. However, once I had seen the exhibit, I decided to
check out the World War II exhibits.
Khrushchev played a big role in the Berlin Wall, as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis. He met at least two Presidents: Nixon (before he was president) and Kennedy.
You can see how Americans dealt with WWII with one of my favorite sayings: wear it out, make it do, or do without.
I had not intended to visit this part of the museum, but it's near where I found Sally. Since I was close by, I decided to shoot these next few images for my friend Patty who has a love for all things from India.
I used the above statue on a page I created for Patty in a swap, but never knew the significance of the image until now. I hope Patty enjoys these!
I then went looking for Sally
thinking she would be ready to leave.
Instead, I found her engrossed in art that seemed to interest her.
I grabbed a copy of the map at the museum gift shop, so you can see some of the items we could see. Sally busied herself on the first floor, while I went to the second floor. I'll show the rest of the second floor photos tomorrow.
Thanks for taking this first part of the voyage with me today. It is greatly appreciated.