What do you do?
I am an independent historian, Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and author of "Science on the Air: Popularizers and Personalities on Radio and Television." My latest book, "Science on American Television: A History," will be published by the University of Chicago Press in December 2012.
Favorite spot in DC to recommend to visitors:
On the Mall, the serpentine Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, tucked between the Arts and Industries Building and the Hirshhorn Museum, never fails to delight—its holiday decorations dusted with snow in December and its horticultural abundance enticing migrating birds in spring and fall. On summer evenings, bands play at the US Navy Memorial fountain (for a “cool” experience, find the penguins in the Wilkes Expedition bas-relief sculpture).
Like all historians, I treasure the drafts and notes in various collections which help build a fuller account of past science and journalism. My favorite box (of course) will always be the box in which I came across the Scopes Trial negatives and notes (now RU 7091, Box 405). But there is always more to find. I am continually surprised by the ephemera in this same collection (see Finding Aid for Record Unit 7091), such as sheet music for a song called “Our Letters” written in 1942 by E.J. Stiner (among correspondence in Box 422, Folder 14) or a brochure for “The Penguins,” a Washington, D.C., political club during the 1920s, with headquarters a few blocks from the White House (RU 7091, Box 81, Folder 1).