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Our only trip off campus today involved a visit to the NARA facility nearest to us here at University of Maryland. It's a secondary building for the Archives, known informally as Archives II. It's the repository for most post-World War I documents for the U.S. government.

For a history nerd, this is a pretty cool credential.
Our visit was relatively brief. Just long enough to get our researcher cards. We'll need these for our research session Wednesday. I'm getting excited about what we might find that day. Roughly, we have about seven hours to look through materials that volunteers have pulled that could be of relevance to Bill's service. We're permitted to bring a camera, but not much else. We've been warned to clear off lots of memory on our cards.

This might be a nice time to point out where we are. We're staying at the University of Maryland, which is on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Any trip into the city takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic. But the archives is a quick five-minute drive.

The campus here is quite nice. We're staying in a dorm that offers two-person rooms in pairs, and each pair of rooms shares one bathroom. Well, that's true for teachers and the girls on the trip. The boys are in more traditional dorm rooms with a common bathroom. I use the term common loosely, for the carpeting, walls, ambience . . . it feels more like a SpringHill Suites than it does a dorm. It makes Hanson Hall back in Gettysburg in 1994 feel pretty humble.

One of the two lounge areas in our dormitory. 

The boys' hallway.

Our dorm is to the right of this photograph. 
We work and learn in a classroom on the ground floor of our dormitory. So far we've had four lectures and a work session in that space. It suits us well.

A view from our classroom. 

The map of the world I drew during this morning's workshop. 

Today was the first day I got out on foot by myself at the University, which was good. Until today I felt very disoriented outside, not really knowing which direction was which, or where I was in relation to the rest of campus. It's making sense now.

The kids, by the way, have really mixed well. We've noticed no instances yet of a student eating alone. They travel in packs, often by room assignment. But I also don't see evidence that cliques have formed. They're taking on an attitude of Is everyone here? Good. Let's go. A few minutes ago, all fifteen of them went out together for a shopping run before dinner. And all of them were wearing their red windbreakers. Quite a neat sight.


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Kids are ready for readings. We read a lot in preparation for this trip. If students or teachers fell off pace, a staff member at NHD would remind us to get back on. It paid off handsomely. Students had context for what we saw and had a…