Monday, November 18, 2013

National Archives, Washington, DC

I was down at the Archives today doing some not-very-successful Civil War research. But even on a bad day the Archives are a wonderful place, so many secrets housed in this magnificent imperial building, designed by John Russell Pope and opened in 1935.

I walked around the building before I went in.

For some reason today I was struck by the guardian statues. On the front, a masculine Eternal Vigliance is the Price of Liberty to the right of the door,

and a slightly more feminine The Heritage of the Past is the Seed that Brings Forth the Harvest of the Future to the left. This sculptor must have taken his idea of female bodies from Michelangelo.

On the back of the building, this hectoring old man on the right, muttering Study the Past,

And on the left, What is Past is Prologue. Not a very original or exciting set of messages. How about A People Who Would Rule Themselves Must Know How Government Works, or just Knowledge is Power?

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