Washington Day 5 - Museum of American History

About this time, I came down with a cold - so days 4 and 6 in Washington were spent in a little cafe down the street, with a cup of hot tea, uploading and blogging all of the photos from the last week-and-a-half. But I had to drag myself away when I found out about the Muppets exhibition at the Museum of American History. See-a zee rest ooff zee fleeckr phutuset here-a, oor reed oon fur mure-a. Bork, bork bork! Muppet Orchestra

The AMH is also free, which is good. It’s not all that well maintained, though… when I was there, they were upgrading their Internet exhibit. Probably a good idea - the statistics on the wall (number of hosts on the Internet, that sort of thing) hadn’t been updated since 1996. Anyhow. It’s in a nice part of town, right on the Mall, and across the street from the EPA building (which is nice in itself). The Muppets exhibit was a bit small, but it’s pretty cool to be able to see the Swedish Chef up close. There was also a display of the characters from Jim Henson’s earlier TV show, Sam and Friends… you might recognise one of the characters. Also cool - there’s an active ham radio station transmitting from the bowels of the museum (callsign NN3SI, if you’re looking). As if I needed any more nostalgia - down the stairs from the Muppets display was the technology area. They have a TRS-80! Ah, memories… And then there’s the Apple I and the Altair 8800 - respectively, the first computer made by Apple, and the first ‘personal computer’. Retrocomputing gold If you’d rather look at something more powerful, they were also displaying part of Deep Blue - and one of the custom VLSI boards they used in Deep Blue to implement dedicated chess logic. This was back in 1997, though… today’s top chess engines with some not-too-expensive hardware would probably be able to give Deep Blue a real run for its money.