Friday, April 08, 2016

D.C. Trip: Museums

Nowhere else on the planet will you find a place like the National Mall in D.C. It is home to a dozen world class museums that are free to visit. And within easy walking distance of the Mall are many more institutions dedicated to preserving art, science, and history. You could visit D.C. every week for the rest of your life and not see it all.

What did we choose to do with our time on the Mall?

First on our list was the National Museum of Natural History home to the Hope Diamond and a truly fabulous gem and mineral collection. We visited this museum three times. Besides viewing the gems and minerals (on every visit) we saw live animals, stuffed animals, mummified animals, animal fossils, animal bones, and animal photos. We visited a live butterfly pavilion. There were some great nonaminal photos, too.

Kara and I took the children to my favorite museum on the Mall, the National Gallery of Art. The kids all participated in the Sketching Is Seeing program by taking time to do a little sketching. Bentley was in charge of the map and we searched out the Leonardo Da Vinci portrait, walked through the Impressionist galleries, saw Thomas Cole's four Voyage of Life paintings, and paused for a photo in the East Garden Court.

Late one afternoon we stopped in at National Museum of American History. Evan napped through our entire visit. We saw the Star Spangled Banner (a famous flag). In the American Stories gallery we looked at Dorothy's red slippers from the Wizard of Oz movie. We walked through the First Ladies Gowns and The American Presidency exhibit. Viva, Jake, and Lincoln took a ride in a simulator. 

We visited the National Air and Space Museum twice, once with Matt. There are lots of very large items in the museum that detail the history of flight from the Wright Brothers to the first lunar landing and beyond. This is the most popular museum on the Mall! 

On Saturday Matt took Bentley, Jake, and Viva to Virginia to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center which is home to historic aviation and space artifacts items too large for the National Air and Space Museum's building on the National Mall.

 In addition to the above museums, Matt and Kara and the kids went into the National Archives to see famous American documents such as The Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.

Kara and I and the children visited in the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building to view its beautifully decorated interior and to take a peek at the Reading Room. (The photo below with Bentley in it is of books from Thomas Jefferson's private library. It is not a photo of the Reading Room.)

We took photos of the Capitol building and the Supreme Court building, but did not go in. There wasn't enough time to go into all the famous buildings in D.C. (I haven't been in all of them and I've been to D.C. nine times and I make it a goal to see new places every time I visit!)

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