Spent a really nice weekend in DC, primarily to see the newly-renovated Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. JennySlash and I agree that they kind of jumped the gun on the opening - there were a number of displays that just obviously weren't quite ready for the public yet. It felt a bit sometimes like wandering into a restaurant a half hour before they open. But it was fun and some of the stuff that is finished is quite cool, including the Transportation in America gallery (sweet 40's Harley and Indian in there) and Julia Child's kitchen. The centerpiece is the preservation work that has been done on the "Star Spangled Banner" which was in really bad shape - it still is, but it shouldn't get any worse and the new display area is pretty nicely done and informative. Of course the highlight for us was the portrait of Stephen Colbert!
My boss asked me jokingly before we went up to be on the lookout for people infused with "hope" and all joking aside, I think we really did see that. I think a lot of the visitors were there now because they knew they wouldn't be able to go around the inaugural, so there was certainly a feeling of anticipation both for the impending end of the current administration and for the beginning of the next. The Presidential display in the museum was crowded, particularly at the end of the wall with the timeline of the presidencies which has now been extended to included President-Elect Obama - probably the most photographed area of the museum.