ITS: day one

i know i said i'd post pictures from the rest of our trip to boston (harvard, etc), but due to my crazy july schedule, figuring out college plans, getting ready for my trip to DC, those are going to have to wait. it's not like anyone reads this anyways!

so i'm sitting at the one washington circle hotel with some chinese food in my belly, and i'm about ready to call it a day. it's certainly been a long one. in a nutshell, here's what the last couple of days has consisted of:

i drove to denver on saturday and stayed at the hampton inn by DIA, woke up around 4:30 sunday morning, got my stuff together, took the 5:15 shuttle to the airport, and was off the ground at 7:30. unlike 99% of the flights i've taken in life, i actually got some sleep thanks to a window seat by the right wing and an old couple sitting next to me. thanks to my bose headphones and (dad's) iPod, it was a relaxing, uneventful flight. got to regan national around noon ET, and took a cab to the hotel since i didn't really feel like figuring out the metro system (more on that in a second).

i'm sharing a room with a guy from the university of arkansas on the seventh floor of the hotel with a decent view of our balcony. with a nice bathroom, full kitchen, and a decent view...i can't complain. i could get used to this all expenses paid trip thing. the only downside is that washington circle is extremely busy in the mornings and evenings. ah well. can't win 'em all.

today was a full day, with the majority of it sitting down. i crashed last night around 8ET after a long day and woke up to an orchestra of sirens and horns around 6. even though eastern time is two hours ahead of mountain time (and an hour ahead of central time too i guess), it was a little weird waking up so early. more annoying than anything else, but that's okay i guess. i went back to sleep a couple times and finally got up around 8, and was showered, dressed, and on the blue line around 9. after spending a week in boston last month, i'd have to say that the orange and blue line to the smithsonian just edges out the green line in beantown. sorry ian and anna! it's a short commute from foggy bottom station to the smithsonian, and a 2-3 minute walk to the united states holocaust memorial museum (as well as the washington monument, etc).

other than a lot of talking and sitting, today was pretty uneventful. this morning we did the usual intro (name, college, year, major, etc), had a little overview of what to expect during the next week, got a group picture, and were issued temporary 5th floor access only badges (good for this weekend when i can go up and do a little independent research). half of us went with eric (who is an ITS research scholar and is in charge of the seminar) to the USDA food court which is a short walk from the museum, and the other half went with suzanne (in a nutshell, eric's boss) to the museum cafe). we got back at 2 and went over the international tracing service a little bit before heading to the fifth floor of the museum for a little orientation over the library, archives, and the photo archives. not the most exciting way to end an already long day, but at least it's out of the way and i know what to look for this weekend.

we're going over our case study topics this week. tomorrow we'll look at the concentration camp system (from our reading material), have lunch with the staff and fellows of the center for advanced holocaust studies, select documents from the ITS related to the camps, break, and have a group discussion for an hour and a half.

the topics will change each day. the rest of the schedule is
wednesday: overview of non-jewish victimsi
thursday: overview of foreign, forced, and slave labor in the german war economy
friday: overview of displaced persons
saturday: independent research in the library and archives
sunday: independent research in the holocaust victims and survivors resource center
monday: overview of war criminals in nazi germany
tuesday: possibilities of using the ITS archive collection and possible future avenues for research in holocaust studies

overall, i think our group is perfectly mixed. there are more undergrads than i thought, and eric told us that this seminar is more of a pilot than anything since the USHMM has held these seminars more for students working on their dissertations while in grad school. i was also surprised at colleges and universities of the students that were selected. everything from small, private liberal arts college like bethel, west virgina wesleyan, and southern virgina university to major D1 schools like michigan state, the university of colorado, michigan state, and cornell.

it's going to be a good trip. there's a lot to do in the area within a 15-20 minute walk. plenty of local shops, good restaurants, bookstores, and sights. i think the obama estate is only a 15 minute walk from here too. might have to go crash some parties there this weekend. i'm going to go snack on some stuff i bought at trader joe's earlier. woo!



  1. Sounds like a full day. Hope you're soaking in every moment. So proud of you Renny!

  2. re: the green line - can't win em all. great post!