In late April we set off on our first Field Trip of 2023 with a whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C. with 40 of our newest friends. It’s hard to get away for the eight or nine days of our other Field Trips, so what can we see and do in half that time?
The answer: a lot.
We outlined the trip in the episode from the first night to the last final dinner together and gave our fellow travelers a chance to share their impressions, highlights, photos, and lessons that they learned from the trip.
We began with cocktails and a trolly tour of the nation’s capital at night. All the monuments and buildings were lit and sparkling–it was a magical way to see the city as a whole.
On our first full day, we toured the museum and estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood, from the mansion to the gardens and a special visit to the archives. That afternoon we visited the former home and office of another previous subject, Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, and followed that with afternoon tea at the historic Willard Hotel.
Day three brought us to two Smithsonian Museums: The National Museum of African American History and the National Museum of American History and ended with dinner, dancing, and meeting visiting listeners on a Potomac cruise.
I go to prepare a place for you by Bisa Butler. Read about it HERE (Susan LOVED this piece of art.)
Finally, on day four, we had a “Women That Changed America” walking tour, a trip through the National Portrait Gallery, and on to a private tour and dinner at Mount Vernon, the site we were just talking about on both the Martha Washington and Ona Judge episodes! That is a high point of all these trips: Standing where so many of our former subjects had been during their remarkable lives.
If you would like to join us on Field Trip, there are still (as of May 17, 2023) a few spots for London in September of this year. That trip is almost sold out (Paris is so sold out that the waitlist could fill two more tours) but there are still tickets for the dinner cruise in both London and Paris so head over to Like Minds Traveland take a gander at that itinerary and join us for dinner!
Of course, we had to pose in front of Highclere Castle! (Yes, that’s “Downton Abbey.”)
Once upon a time a couple of chicks and a group tour expert thought it would be fun to plan a tour around our former subjects… finally, three years, four reschedules, 56 people went on that eight-day trip. These are their stories. (And historical trivia, travel and book recommendations, societal observations, and even a lesson in gas exchange…there’s a lot to learn in this one.)
Our Poundland haul!
Some finds at Blenheim Palace:
Gladys Deacon sphynx at Blenheim Palace
Winston Churchill’s curls from his first big boy haircut
Nobody puts Wallis in the corner!
TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS TRAVELERS
The Superbloom at Tower of London was a favorite for A LOT of us
The history pub tour that Beckett and her dad took was through Liquid History Tours; the Jack the Ripper tour Susan took was through RipperVision, her guide was Richard (although some Seagulls took the tour with a different guide from the same company and loved it just as much.)
Susan and our Jack The Ripper Tour guide, Richard! (He said he was going to look scary for this, he was a perfectly charming gentleman!)
Starr: The book that Starr nerded out to and gave her visit to Jane’s world added depth:
By Helena Kelly
Susie: The public art installation of giant corgis are dotted throughout Westminster (where we were staying so it was hard NOT to see one.) Here is a map of them, and the one that she referenced, Susan, represents Queen Elizabeth’s first corgi and the grandma of many of the ones she called for walkies in the Queen’s life. Funny story: this piece was created by the class of one of our Traveler’s daughters!
One of the many corgis! This one is named Susan who was Queen Elizabeth’s original corgi and the matriarch of the many corgis she’s had over the years.
Named after the Titans of Greek mythology, and advertised as “The ship of wonders” and “The floating palace , Titanic began her maiden voyage filled with passengers and crew of all class levels. On the dark and moonless night of April 14th, 1912 the ship steamed through the icy waters of the north Atlantic en route to New York. What happened near midnight, and over the course of the next two hours, is well documented: the ship struck an iceberg which caused catastrophic damage to the hull. Despite press claims of being unsinkable, by 2:10 AM on the 15th of April, Titanic begins her journey to the bottom of the sea, taking just over 1,500 people with her. The stories of those people and the history of that night- that ship- continue to grimly fascinate 100 years later.
It was all those histories that sent us to view Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Kansas City’s Union Station. The building itself amazes us, built in 1914 and closed in 1980, it was renovated and opened again to the public in 1999. Union Station is now home to an Amtrack station,shops,a museum,an interactive science center, and more as well as hosting traveling exhibits such as the one that we toured recently.
Kansas City’s Union Station -it’s a really cool building.This is only a tiny part of it.
Facing the walkway that takes people from Union Station to Crown Center- another really fun thing to visit here
This episode tracks that adventure for us. While photography is not allowed in the exhibit, we thought that it would be fun to bring you along with us via recording device as we toured the collection of memorabilia. The $19.12 adult admission made us smile, and the entire exhibit sparked discussion and imagination. We did our best to describe what we were looking at and touching…we touched part of the Titanic! (insert girly squeal here).
Vocabulary lesson: The term “poop deck” comes from the latin word puppis meaning aft or stern. The poop deck is a partial deck above the ships main afterdeck.
As disappointing as this is, it’s still fun to say.
Also Puppis is a constellation…but before you get 12 year-old giddy, it represents the stern of a ship. Hey, one of us is bumming with you.
In the gift shop, replicas of first class china
Second glass china
Third Class China
Yes, we could have taken more pictures in the gift shop, but didn’t think you cared to see all the merchandise with “Titanic” emblazoned across it. We didn’t buy anything.
Love love love this one. The Watch the Ends the Night by Allan Wolf. Own love. That much! The story of the Titanic is told through poems and dialogs from the point of view of two dozen passengers and crew. Some who survived, some who did not but all speak of their lives and the experience of April 14, 1912. I felt greedy sitting down and snarfing the whole book. I wanted to take it in short bites and savor each piece like really fine chocolate.
Watch that ends the night, voices from Titanic by, Allan Wolf.
If you happen to find yourself in Kansas City, you really should check out Union Station. Here is a link to the events and things that will await you there.
The History Chicks Podcast
Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider: Two women. Half the population. Several thousand years of history. About an hour.