What! No Beach This Weekend? Try Smithsonian’s “On The Water” Exhibit

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Memorial Day weekend and the waterfront beckons. What, you say you can't get the car to start, you're worried about bridge traffic, or you haven't shed enough weight to get into your swimsuit?

Here's a solution. Head over to the National Museum of American History and check out the new permanent exhibition, "On the Water," which opens today and will celebrated with a three-day festival of family activities.

This is America's maritime story and to tell it, the museum is offering hundreds of treasures from a factory trawler to a real whaleboat to the tobacco ship, "Brilliant" (above), along with dozens of fascinating images depicting the life and work on U.S. waterways.

And if you go there, look for a compass. It's about four and a half inches in diameter, and though seemingly insignificant, it testifies to a chilling tale involving one merchant marine, Waldemar Semenov and his brush with death at sea 67 years ago.

Got a water experience that you'd like to get off your chest, a body surfing mash up or a fish that got away? Tell us in the comments area below.

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