A visitor to Washington, D.C., in 1905 would have found precisely one memorial on the National Mall: the Washington Monument. A hundred years later, the Mall hosts nine major memorials, commemorating five presidents and four wars. That's a lot of history packed into a relatively small space.
Visitors can find much of that history in guidebooks, but what about the memorials themselves? How well do their designs serve the memories of famous men (and only men so far) and bitter conflicts? Slate's latest audio tour allows you to take the thoughts of our architecture critic, Witold Rybczynski, with you the next time you visit the Mall. He'll be your personal and candid guide to the good and the not-so-good efforts to immortalize America's heroes.
There are several ways to take the tour. Of course, if you're planning a visit to D.C. anytime soon, the best way is to load the free audio tour onto your iPod or other MP3 player and take it to the Mall. (It's easy to find the different stops on the tour with our downloadable map.)
But if you don't fancy a winter walking tour and don't want to wait until spring, you can also stroll the Mall virtually from the comfort of your den or cubicle. If you download the Apple iTunes version of the tour, the audio file comes enhanced with a slide show containing more than 90 pictures illustrating Witold's main points. The file can be played either in iTunes or QuickTime, both available for free Windows and Mac downloads. (The photos will also show up on an iPod Photo, Nano, or the new video iPod.)
Or you can download the MP3 audio version of the tour, which will run in multiple media players but doesn't contain all those photos. In that case you can enhance your experience using Witold's online slide show of some of the memorials, supplemented by a quick search for images on the Web (these are extremely well-photographed structures).
Slate Audio Tour Downloads:
Apple iTunes (AAC) Format Audio Files:
• Podcast. Use this link to subscribe to the Slate Audio Tours podcast in iTunes, which will download this and future tours automatically (iTunes format only, includes PDF map)
• Direct Download or Stream
MP3 Format Audio Files:
MP3s a la carte (Design your own tour):
• 1. The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial
• 2. The National Mall
• 3. The Washington Monument
• 4. The Jefferson Memorial
• 5. The F.D.R. Memorial
• 6. The D.C. War (WWI) Memorial
• 7. The National World War II Memorial
• 8. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
• 9. The Korean War Veterans Memorial
• 10. The Lincoln Memorial
And if you're planning a trip to New York City instead of Washington, don't forget our previous Slate Audio Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's modern art collection.
We welcome your feedback: Podcasts@slate.com.