During the second week of July, I spent a week in Washington, D.C. The first part of the trip was spent packing up a traveling exhibit on Abraham Lincoln and the technology of war for its return trip to Tennessee, but the second part of the week was spent doing my favorite thing in the world: museum hopping.
D.C. is a dangerous place for me as I can spend days in one museum alone. Offer me the chance to visit oodles of historic artifacts and paintings for free? I might never return home. I did have my husband to help keep me steady on this trip, although even his presence carried a problem of its own: he likes to visit local breweries on our vacations to get a taste of the local offerings. We agreed to intersperse museums with breweries. The result is that we are going to be on a diet from here to eternity, although hopefully the miles walked count for something.
Inevitably on these trips, too, I search out everything Tudor. Visit Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina? I hunt down their Cecil family portraits. Drive across the border into Virginia? Remember that it is named after Elizabeth I. In fact, it seems that history connected to the 16th century and to the Tudor monarchs, specifically, are everywhere in the USA. On my trip to D.C., I definitely expected to find them in the Washington National Cathedral, where Cranmer, Elizabeth I, and even Thomas More can be found, and at the Folger Shakespeare Library, whose most recent exhibit highlights the heraldry of the era.
What I was pleasantly surprised to find, however, was an exhibit on Elizabeth I and royal spies at the International Spy Museum. Maybe I was just expecting the International Spy Museum to focus on the Cold War, but the replica embroidered cloth of Elizabeth I’s Rainbow Portrait gown was a great find. Indeed, little surprises like these lurked all over D.C., and when I stopped to think about it, I realized that small exhibits or memorials to the Tudor monarchs and their contemporaries exist all over the U.S. I began snapping photos to share and document with the readers of this blog. I hope that you might want to share small gems such as these, too – that’s why I have created the below form for US readers to contact me with their own local Tudoriana. You can suggest where a Tudor-related exhibit is located, give a bit of info about that artifact, statue, or piece of artwork, and I will share it on the blog (with credit going to the reader for the find, of course).