These Will End in Tears

Need a good cry? An Academy Award-nominated short film is a shortcut to catharsis. With one exception, this year’s live-action and animated honorees are emotionally manipulative in the best of ways. Some are flat-out heartbreaking; others are moving or achingly sweet. See them at Landmark E Street Cinema (555 11th St. NW; 202-452-7672) from Friday […]

Haul of Presidents

What if you threw an inauguration and every president — dead ones included — came? There would be a lot of grousing (“My hair did NOT look like that”) and some hurt feelings (“THAT’s my legacy?”). To ease these bruised egos, we found locations at which to honor each commander in chief, even the lousy […]

Seen But Not Heard Of

Dear Friends of the Giant Fiberglass Pineapple Overlooking I-95: Stop writing us letters! We would love to write 270 words about your fruit, only we haven’t the time. But you raise a good point: Express will never address more than a tiny fraction of our area’s unseen sites. These apps cover what we won’t. Roadside […]

Adniti praemio dignum est

“Is this it?” asked a confused visitor to the National Museum of Language. The name implies a more magisterial setting than this low-ceilinged plot of green institutional carpet in a College Park, Md., office building. The answer, “There are a few displays across the hall,” seemed disappointing, and the man wandered away. Do not judge […]

Love of First Flights

Many a milestone was attained in the airspace over the College Park Aviation Museum. There were big, sexy victories, like the first controlled helicopter flight, in 1924. And there were quieter, personal triumphs, like Mrs. Ralph Van Deman’s. In 1909, she became the first woman airplane passenger in the U.S. “Oh, this was simply splendid,” […]

A House Undivided

Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881, which makes her use of bandages as building material only slightly less strange. This unusual touch is one reason her Glen Echo, Md., residence feels like the inside of a giant first-aid kit. Paper cut? Dig into the ceiling (don’t actually try this!) — some of […]

And a Phone Shall Lead You

There are so many reasons to listen to free cell phone or podcast tours without physically doing said tours. Perhaps your workout playlist needs a little gravitas, or your New Year’s resolution is to stop fulfilling your emotional needs with 1-900 numbers. The beauty of call-in jaunts is that even dumbphones can handle them, as […]

Privy Investigations

Modern toilets can barely handle a baby wipe, much less pencils, toys, sugar bowls and muskets. These were all found while excavating a 19th-century privy, or outdoor bathroom, where the Alexandria Courthouse now stands. Privies were treated as personal landfills and are revered at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum for their telling contents — even those […]

'Thanks! What Is It?'

We’ve visited 21 lesser-known attractions since launching Sites Unseen in August. Burning money (or just window-shopping) at the gift shops post-tour is now a tradition, or maybe a compulsion. Behold, our favorite buys. Hobo Signals Mug The winner of our first-ever Sites Unseen Gift Awards (the Siteys, for short) is the National Cryptologic Museum’s hobo […]

Anti-Depressant Properties

“The Penalty of Bad Planning: Waste, Ugliness, Congestion.” So sayeth “Greenbelt Towns,” a 1936 brochure trumpeting the need for planned communities where families could rent affordable homes; walk to shops and recreational facilities; and enjoy safe, green spaces, all administered by the federal government. Three were built — Greenhills, Ohio; Greendale, Wis.; and Greenbelt, Md. […]