ONGOING

Jack Kapsa’s got a name that would look damn fine etched on a private detective’s office door. The red hair and chubby cheeks give him away, though, as does my 2-year-old step-nephew’s penchant for choo-choos. When I was Jack’s age, nothing was more exciting than a trip to the National Museum of American History—or, more accurately, a walk down to the ground-floor train room. But these are different times, and I suppose today’s toddlers aren’t so easy to please. In place of American History’s much-loved (but rather plain) transportation display stands a fancy, new, sort-of interactive exhibition called “America on the Move.” This new version still has the trains—thank goodness even the great big green Southern one (pictured) that once seemed so huge. But though the show’s pseudo-narrative—which examines the effects modern modes of transport have had on our country—is nicely done and includes a well-informed bit on how trolleys helped D.C. grow up, the newfangled take left me cold. Sure, context is educational, but walking into that old hall of relics used to be a mythic little-boy experience. The show is on view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily at the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mike Kanin)

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