Washington D.C. – National Museum of Natural History

As part of my Washington trip, we also went to the natural history museum. My main focus was to see the extraordinary collection of gems and minerals as I have been fascinated with them since I was a child. Of course, no visit would be complete without visiting the Hope diamond- which started out as 112 carats and was cut through the years to its present 45 carat size. For more information about the Hope diamond visit the Smithsonian’s website and encyclopedia that will satisfy your curiosity about the history and legends of the diamond.

The other main reason to go is the David Koch Hall of Human Origins– that tells the story of human evolution and how humans evolved over six million years in response to a changing world. The exhibit allows those who choose to visit the chance to explore the evidence for human evolution, come face-to-face with unforgettable representations of early humans, and arrive at a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

While there I came across an exhibit regarding an incident that I had largely forgotten about- the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped in the San José mine after it collapsed on August 5th, 2010.

For 68 days family, friends, and the world waited to hear of what could only be described as beyond belief. More than two months after the mine collapsed, the world watched as the men emerged one by one from a specially designed rescue capsule, aptly named the “Phoenix.” This capsule, symbolically painted red, white and blue to honor the flag of Chile, was equipped with an oxygen supply, communications equipment, and wheels that would retract as needed to provide a smoother ride through the half mile of solid rock it was passing through.

Despite the ability of rescuers to provide oxygen and food to the trapped miners, it was an especially memorable moment as each of them stepped from the capsule looking healthy. The credit for this must go to the extraordinary team of experts and officials from Chile and around the world.