Dinah Shore’s ’50s hit jingle “See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet” was a bright piece of propaganda that once perfectly illustrated our unquestioning worship of the automobile. Although mass car ownership has helped to expand personal freedom and bolster America’s economy this century, a steep price continues to be paid in pollution, urban decay, and an increasingly blighted landscape. Been to Germantown lately? While “See the U.S.A.: Automobile Travel and the American Landscape,” a new exhibit at the National Building Museum, showcases the quaint nostalgia of gas, food, and lodging, the press release tells the real story: “We are very pleased to partner with the National Building Museum,” says AmEx Foundation president Mary Beth Salerno. “At American Express, our roots in travel are deep. We entered the travel business in 1915. Then, as now, we knew that what was good for travel and tourism was also good for the company.” ‘Twas ever thus. On view beginning today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, to May 7, 2000, at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Free. (202) 272-2448. (Dave Nuttycombe)