My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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My daughter-in-law and I took three small children, ranging from four to eight years, to the Arts and Industries Building of the Smithsonian this afternoon. Inadvertently, I had said that we were going to see different mines and they would get a chance to see what it was like to go underground.

For a moment, as we entered, their attention was arrested by Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" which hangs in the entrance hall. Then we proceeded to the first engine which entered Washington on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It was working, but they were far more fascinated by the little model Tom Thumb engine, running a race with a street car, drawn by a horse, and could hardly contain themselves when told that the horse had won.

But, the eight-year-old kept saying: "When are we going into a mine?," so we hurried on and looked at the model coal mine, the miners' lights and caps, but still we had not actually entered a mine. Finally, we came to a copper mine and there we actually could go in. To be sure, we did not go in very far, but I was so glad that my veracity was vindicated, or I should have had no standing ever again with my grandchildren.

We came out near the costumes of Presidents' wives, which elicited no interest at all, but facing us in the entrance hall was a great picture. Loudly the children demanded: "What's that picture?" They were told that it was a Civil War Veterans Parade, whereupon one of them asked: "Whose dog is that?" Every older person there burst into laughter and the museum official and I were both obliged to admit that we really did not know whose dog has been painted into the picture!

If you want an amusing hour, I recommend that you take some children to the Arts and Industries Building!

TMsd 2 January 1936, AERP, FDRL