Íàçâàíèå: This Is America (Å. Ã. Ãðèøåíêîâà)
Match the vocabulary items with their definitions
2 FIND THE INFORMATION
Read the text as quickly as possible and answer the questions
1. What museums does the Smithsonian Institution consist of?
2. Where is the Museum of American History located?
3. What is the mission of the Museum?
4. When was it opened?
5. What does science exhibit examine?
6. What does information technology exhibit explain?
7. What does money exhibit show?
8. What can visitors see in the exhibit of American culture?
9. Why is the exhibit about American presidency very popular?
10. What is the most valuable object in the National Museum of American
Museum of American History
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. collects, cares for and protects more than one hundred forty million historical objects. Some of them can be seen at the National Museum of American History.
There are sixteen museums in the Smithsonian Institution. They include the National Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum of modern art. All the museums are free to the public and open almost every day of the year.
A visitor would need more than a week to see all of the Smithsonian museums. In fact, it takes almost a full day to walk through the National Museum of American History. This museum is in the area of Washington called the National Mall. Last year, more than five million people visited the National Museum of American History.
The museum’s collection gives visitors a better understanding of American history, science and culture. The American History Museum cares for and protects more than eighteen million objects.
These special objects include the nation’s most famous flag - the Star Spangled Banner, the table that Thomas Jefferson used while writing the Declaration of Independence, the papers showing music written by the great jazz musician, Duke Ellington.
However, the museum can show only a small percent of its collection at one time. The museum is open for seven and one half hours each day. But this may not be enough time to see everything inside. Visitors may want to plan their day at the museum to fit their personal interests. Maybe they want to see the special exhibits that are shown for a limited amount of time. Or perhaps they want to see the permanent exhibits that have been in the museum since it opened in 1964.
One permanent exhibit on the first floor of the museum examines science in American life. During the past one hundred twenty-five years, scientific research and technology have greatly influenced American culture. This exhibit includes historic pictures and objects that bring scientific ideas to life.
For example, visitors can learn more about America’s effort to develop an atomic bomb during World War II. This program was called the Manhattan Project. One of the first pieces of equipment scientists used to break up atoms is here. This early “atom smasher” looks like a round tube that can be turned by hand.
Before leaving the science exhibit, people can visit the Hands On Science Center. Experts here can explain how science affects American culture and society. Anyone can ask the experts questions. There are also games and projects for children.
Next to the Hands On Science Center is an exhibit on information technology. More than seven hundred objects and pictures are in this area. The exhibit explains how information technology has changed the way people live around the world. Visitors can use computers and other kinds of technology in this exhibit.
The history of information technology began in the 1800s with the creation of the telegraph. This was the first device to send communication over long distances. Samuel Morse developed the telegraph in 1837. Messages were sent and received using a series of electric beats representing words. This type of immediate communication is called Morse Code.
Visitors can experiment with Morse Code using a telegraph device. Eleven- year-old Mark Wheeler from California typed out a warning signal using Morse Code. The message represents the letters “CQD,” which mean “come quick, distress.” It was the same message the Titanic passenger ship sent out before it sank in 1912. Mark said he learned Morse Code from the Internet computer system. He said he knows other signals, but “CQD” was the most common and useful Morse Code message.
The information technology exhibit also teaches visitors about the history of radio and television. There is even an area explaining how computer and satellite technology spread news and information today.
Information technology would not work without electricity. So visitors might want to examine the next exhibit called the “Nature of Electricity.” Visitors learn about Thomas Edison and the invention of early electric light. The first part of the exhibit tells about 19th century forms of power, such as batteries and magnets. There are even some early electric lights that helped form the technical base for Mr. Edison’s work.
The exhibit also tells about Thomas Edison’s family and the people he worked with. Mr. Edison produced not just a light bulb, but an electrical system. The exhibit even has a model of his first central power station in New York City. The Pearl Street station began producing power in 1882. Electricity became the world’s leading form of power in fewer than twenty years after Mr. Edison’s invention. A revolution had taken place. Low cost electric power had made new industrial growth possible.
An exhibit about the history of money and metals is on the top floor of the American History Museum. Visitors can see how American money has changed over time. For example, there are one hundred dollar bills dating back from the late 1800s until today. Visitors can see the different dollar bills issued by the American colonies in the late 1700s. There are also examples of memorial coins released for special
events in the United States. There are also Japanese gold and silver coins given to
President Ulysses S. Grant in 1881.
This exhibit also shows the world’s oldest known coins dating back more than two thousand six hundred years. The coins are from the ancient territory of Lydia in what is now Turkey. However, one of the most interesting parts of this exhibit is a collection of gold coins from ancient times to the present. The coins are from North and South America, Europe and Asia.
An exhibit of American popular culture is also on the third floor. Visitors can see things used by famous Americans. For example, they can see the boxing gloves worn by boxer Mohammad Ali. They can see the red shoes worn by Judy Garland in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Visitors can also see the musical instrument played by American jazz artist Dizzy Gillespie.
Nearby is an exhibit about musical instruments. Visitors can examine early string instruments made by skilled creators like Antonio Stradivari. Many of these early violins, violas and cellos were made during the 17th century. There are also early brass and keyboard instruments.
One very popular exhibit at the National Museum of American History is about the American presidency. Visitors can learn more about the men who have held the office, and some of the objects they used. Equally important to American history were the women married to this country’s presidents. An exhibit on the second floor examines the part these “first ladies” played in American culture and their work serving the public.
Finally, a visit to the National Museum of American History would not be complete without seeing the nation’s most famous flag, the Star Spangled Banner. Some historians say the flag is the most recognized sign of American identity. It was made in 1813. The flag hung in the museum for many years. However, age, light and dirt weakened its material.
Museum officials and scientists have been working in a special laboratory to repair the flag. Visitors can watch this process through a glass window. The project is expected to be finished at the end of this year.
At that time, museum officials will return the Star Spangled Banner to its permanent exhibit. Then millions of visitors will be able to see the famous flag and other important objects that tell America’s story.
3 COMPREHENSION CHECK
Decide whether these statements are TRUE or FALSE
1. Everybody can visit all the museums of the Smithsonian Institution without payment.
2. If you want to understand the American people better, you should go to the
American History Museum.
3. During the past one hundred twenty-five years, scientific research and technology have greatly influenced American culture.
4. The Hands On Science Center plays an important role in intellectual development of the nation.
5. The history of information technology began in the 1800s with the creation of
6. The most popular exhibit at the National Museum of American History is about the American presidency.
7. The Star Spangled Banner is the most precious object exhibited at the National
Museum of American History.
4 VOCABULARY AND GRAMMAR EXERCISES
1) Match the beginning of the phrases with their endings to make expressions from the text
2) Fill in the gaps with the correct word to complete each sentence
Information technology would not work 1)
might want to examine the next exhibit 2)
electricity. So visitors the “Nature of Electricity.”
Visitors learn 3)
Thomas Edison and the invention of early electric light. The
first part of the exhibit tells about nineteenth century forms of power, such
4) batteries and magnets. There are even some early electric lights
5) helped form the technical base for Mister Edison’s work.
The exhibit 6)
tells about Thomas Edison’s family and the people he
worked with. Mister Edison produced 7)
just a light bulb, but an electrical
system. The exhibit 8)
has a model of his first central power station in New
York City. The Pearl Street station began producing power in 1882. Electricity
became the world’s leading form of power in fewer 9) Mister Edison’s invention. A revolution had taken 10) power had made new industrial growth possible.
5 FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES
twenty years after
. Low cost electric
1. Discuss with a partner the role of museums in the life of a nation.
2. Make a report about a popular museum in our region/country.
1 KEY WORDS