"Roughing" It

Having grown up in a major U.S. city with a family that considered spending a week in a grass hut camping, I committed to giving my daughter more exposure to the great outdoors with all the wonderful state and national parks near Washington D.C. However, lack of sleep and rehydrated food was not what I had in mind.

View out the front of a "glamping" tent at Firelight Camps in Ithaca, NY, by Alice Crain.

Throughout history, Smithsonian researchers have conducted their work in remote places, sometimes enduring extremely difficult conditions. However, when examining some of the photos in the Archives' collections, it seems they had the knack for making life more comfortable. For example, study this image of Ferdinand V. Hayden on expedition in Utah, 1878, which shows a choice of lovely mountain view for afternoon tea. Quite civil, indeed.

Trans-Mississippi West Expedition in Utah, 1878, with Ferdinand V. Hayden, assistant chief James Ste

Who says fresh-cut flowers are just for home? As you're hiking, pick a few for your campsite to make it a little more cheerful:

Walcott Family Enjoy a Meal in the Grand Canyon, May 1903, Image ID# SIA2010-3247.

And camping food does NOT have to be the stuff of astronauts. This looks like a multi-course meal on a white table cloth no less! Is that champagne I see?

Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) family campsite in the Canadian Rockies, 1910, Image ID# SIA20

The Smithsonian, "glamping" since the 1800s.

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