A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History

A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History

Tim Grove

Language: English

Pages: 174

ISBN: 0803249721

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For more than twenty years, Tim Grove has worked at the most popular history museums in the United States, helping millions of people get acquainted with the past. This book translates that experience into an insider’s tour of some of the most interesting moments in American history. Grove’s stories are populated with well-known historical figures such as John Brown, Charles Lindbergh, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea—as well as the not-so-famous. Have you heard of Mary Pickersgill, seamstress of the Star-Spangled Banner flag? Grove also has something to say about a few of our cherished myths, for instance, the lore surrounding Betsy Ross and Eli Whitney.

Grove takes readers to historic sites such as Harpers Ferry, Fort McHenry, the Ulm Pishkun buffalo jump, and the Lemhi Pass on the Lewis and Clark Trail and traverses time and space from eighteenth-century Williamsburg to the twenty-first-century Kennedy Space Center. En route from Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic to Cape Disappointment on the Pacific, we learn about planting a cotton patch on the National Mall, riding a high wheel bicycle, flying the transcontinental airmail route, and harnessing a mule. Is history relevant? This book answers with a resounding yes and, in the most entertaining fashion, shows us why.











low light, the wear of time took its toll. Inspection showed the need for a major conservation project to secure the flag’s future. Therefore in December 1998 the museum lowered the flag one last time. Staff members experienced a rare opportunity to get up close and examine this national icon. I remember putting my face within a foot of the fibers and feeling two distinct emotions: awe from the power of this historic object imbued with symbolism and shock at the flag’s worn condition. Away from

influence to save his relative’s property. According to my tour guide, relatively little is known about the Drayton family’s life at the house. No inventories exist. Many of the family’s papers were lost during the Civil War and few pieces of original furniture remain. Yet, little by little, the secrets of the past are uncovered as the staff continue to do their research. President Madison’s Home Reborn Drayton is perhaps a rare example of a historic house with little change over time. Most

exhibition. Speaking of Indian women, the men of the corps were enamored with Native women and knowing his men, Lewis had prepared for the inevitable. The artifact that proved the most memorable to my friends was only eight inches long. It both repelled and intrigued them—having seen it on display in St. Louis, my friends Jon and Paul joined me on a trip to Denver and saw the exhibition again there. The first artifact they set out to find was the urethral syringe, or as Lewis called them on his

century. Construction began in 1846 and the vestry hoped the church would serve as an oasis for both the wealthy and the working classes. This vision to build a medieval-style church in the nineteenth century began a movement to build English Gothic churches across the American landscape. Today, its thick stone walls and vertical bell tower stand in slight decay, waiting for a new moment of glory. The carved wooden pews and elaborate high altar speak of exquisite craftsmanship, and its pastoral

first wing opened in 1840, and the public quickly dubbed the enormous vaulted room on the third floor the National Gallery. Some claimed it was the largest exhibition hall in America and for a short time, before the Smithsonian existed, it was known as a “museum of curiosities”; almost a hundred thousand visitors per year came to wonder at its eclectic displays: the Declaration of Independence; relics owned by George Washington, including his Continental army tent; a piece of Plymouth Rock;

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