When I take my groups to Arlington, I often go through the same skit. I tell them there are two Presidents buried here, and ask them to guess which ones. Just about everyone knows about the eternal flame and JFK, of course, but then they're normally stumped. There will be a short period of quiet, followed by a series of random outbursts:"Washington!" "Lincoln!" "Very Small Rocks!". Eventually I give them all the clue: he was our "greatest" President ever. With this, some kid in the back will usually get the right answer, William Howard Taft.
Thanks to the National Archives BIG! exhibit, visitors to DC now have an opportunity to contemplate the "greatness" of President and Chief Justice Taft using visual aids. This year, the National Archives celebrates it's 75th anniversary and has put together the BIG! exhibit to help commemorate it. It's filled with very large items, recognizing the big ideas and big events that went into making us who we are. Visitors can see the 13 foot long scroll of the Articles of Confederation, our nation's first constitution, in which I'm reasonably certain that new states are required to compete in feats of strength before they are admitted. The original tally sheet of our Declaration of War upon Japan is there, where you can witness the piling on of Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin, lone holdout against the war. Basketball fans can see Shaq's shoe, in all it's gargantuan glory. And yes, a full size replica of President Taft's specially made White House bathtub is included as well. Presumably his second one.
Sadly, you do have to wait in the general admission security line to see BIG!, even if you have no plans to see the Declaration, Constitution, etc. I've discussed best practices to avoid the lines earlier, but the good news is that although DC can be quite crowded with tourists in the summer, the lines are nowhere near what they are in the spring. It takes a lot of families to equal even one bus load of schoolkids.
BIG! will be here until January 3rd, 2010.