Art and Nature in Washington DC

During our recent trip to the District of Columbia we made time to see some great art. Nature was a little harder to come by. But our first stop was the National Museum of Natural History which is pretty much a combination of nature and art. 

A statue/idol from Easter Island who greets you as you enter the museum...

A statue/idol from Easter Island who greets you as you enter the museum...

But this guy in the lobby is more iconic. 

But this guy in the lobby is more iconic. 

I hadn't been to the Smithsonian Museums in many many years, and my husband had never been to visit them, so it was a great adventure. He was very keen to see the Hope Diamond, which I had forgotten is blue. I didn't get a good picture, unfortunately, so you will have to visit it for your selves!

We loved visiting the big gems and meteorites! I hope, one day, to own one! Can you imagine owning a piece of outer space?

We loved visiting the big gems and meteorites! I hope, one day, to own one! Can you imagine owning a piece of outer space?

There was a great live bug exhibit that culminated with a butterfly garden. We skipped the butterflies bc it cost extra and we were short of time. I love a good bug zoo, so we fully explored the other bugs. They were fascinating, interesting, and not a little creepy. We left feeling a bit itchy. 

Gorgeous colors. 

Gorgeous colors. 

Armor plated. 

Armor plated. 

We popped into the National Gallery of Art and saw a few favorites. 

I think Seurat and I would've gotten along. He seems to love the Shore. 

I think Seurat and I would've gotten along. He seems to love the Shore. 

This is a detail from The Wind by Felix Vallotton. I had never heard of him before but really enjoyed this painting. It seems like he is someone I will have to research. 

This is a detail from The Wind by Felix Vallotton. I had never heard of him before but really enjoyed this painting. It seems like he is someone I will have to research. 

I always love Wyeth's muted tones, bleak but beautiful. 

I always love Wyeth's muted tones, bleak but beautiful. 

There's an underground passage way connecting the two wings of the art museum. The highlight of which is an amazing light walkway. I'm not sure who the artist is, but it was clearly a fan favorite judging by all the people snapping pics.

One of the things that I find really thrilling about all these museums is that they are free. The ease  of entering is a shocking contrast to doing just about anything in NYC. Bc one doesn't pay to get in, there is only a small security table, only for checking larger bags, etc... It makes it quick to enter but it also makes it feel so much more accessable. I could certainly picture people popping in on their lunch break, or walk home. And it must be spectacular for people with kids. All of the education, fun and excitement of the museum in an easy and affordable way. I sometimes marvel that families can pay what it takes to go somewhere like the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, where one trip for a family of four might cost upwards of $100. 

One of my IG friends recognized this spot in a photo from all the way in Cleveland, OH. It leaves an impression. 

One of my IG friends recognized this spot in a photo from all the way in Cleveland, OH. It leaves an impression. 

Something that I was not thrilled with was that a lot of museums, exhibits and exhibitions seemed to be closed, some permanently. Upon entering the Modern wing of the Gallery of Art, we realized that there were only a very few pieces on view and these only in the lobby. All the galleries were closed.  

The few things that were on view were pretty great, though. On display was work by some of our favorites, including Serra (not pictured), Ernst, Calder, and Goldsworthy.   

The largest Calder mobile was sadly tied and not allowed to turn. 

The largest Calder mobile was sadly tied and not allowed to turn. 

We are fans of Max Ernst's paintings and print work and were happy to discover this sculpture. 

We are fans of Max Ernst's paintings and print work and were happy to discover this sculpture. 

It's pretty rare to find Goldsworthy's work in galleries or museums. I always feel lucky if I stumble onto it. Unfortunately you could get no closer to it than this as the doors out to the patio were locked and the windows to look down on it were very dirty. 

It's pretty rare to find Goldsworthy's work in galleries or museums. I always feel lucky if I stumble onto it. Unfortunately you could get no closer to it than this as the doors out to the patio were locked and the windows to look down on it were very dirty. 

Walking out on the National Mall is very similar to being in a sculpture garden or museum bc of all the monuments and memorials. I covered some of what we saw in a previous post about this trip, so I won't go into it again. But it was also nice to see some "wildlife" on our walk as well. 

washingon blk squirrel.jpg
washingotn squirrel.jpg
washington duck butt.jpg

One of the things that I really really wanted to do was go to the National Zoo. We ran out of time for it on this trip... So I guess we will have to go back!

A Monumental Anniversary

This past weekend we headed down to Washington DC to celebrate our One Year Anniversary. Hey, it's my blog and I can name the posts any corny thing I feel like. 

Our hotel was only a few blocks from all the monuments, so right after checking in we set right back out to see some sights. 

Our hotel was only a few blocks from all the monuments, so right after checking in we set right back out to see some sights. 

I haven't been to DC in many years. It was a warm clear night when we arrived and it was great to get right out and walk down to the Mall. It took me a while to become oriented but luckily our hotel was right in the heart of town. 

It seemed like 2 in the morning, partly because the night was so black, and partly bc there were very few other people out. We were lucky to have the Mall to ourselves. 

It seemed like 2 in the morning, partly because the night was so black, and partly bc there were very few other people out. We were lucky to have the Mall to ourselves. 

Everything there is so BIG! When I was young, walking between sights seemed to take forever. I remember the Mall being enormous! Upon returning, it didn't take that long to walk from one place to another... but the whole city still felt gigantic.  The streets are so wide, the buildings so large! It didn't help that there never seemed to be anyone around. It felt like the opposite of Manhattan, which always feels like it's wall to wall with people and buildings.  

Some things were exactly the same as I remembered them. 

Some things were exactly the same as I remembered them. 

For only being there a very short amount of time, we saw so much! We were able to see three (really four but one of them had only a few permanent pieces on view but no exhibits and therefore doesn't count) of the museums, many memorials and monuments, and walk around to several different areas of the city. We decided to stay close to the hotel this trip and not go where we couldn't walk to, which worked out perfectly. 

The second day was rainy and chilly so we mostly stayed indoors visiting the museums. The last morning was warm again, although overcast. We took the opportunity to see a few of the monuments and memorials in the day light. 

The second day was rainy and chilly so we mostly stayed indoors visiting the museums. The last morning was warm again, although overcast. We took the opportunity to see a few of the monuments and memorials in the day light. 

I was very surprised that several of the museums had no exhibits, or were currently closed. The biggest shock and disappointment was that the National Aquarium is closed for good. It was the oldest public aquarium in the nation and closed last Fall. I don't remember ever going there, and was sad not to able to on this trip or in the future. It seems very sad to me that they closed such a historical site forever. 

This pic makes it seem that the White house is in some rural location, but it's right in the heart of downtown Washington DC!

This pic makes it seem that the White house is in some rural location, but it's right in the heart of downtown Washington DC!

It was a shockingly easy and fast trip down (we took the bus!), and hopefully we will make it back before too long. Some things that I would really enjoy seeing next time include the Jefferson Memorial, the Potomic River, the National Zoo, the Textile Museum (which was open, but currently had no exhibits??), and the Post Office Museum.  

We collected many squished pennies!! If you are a fan of these souvenirs, DC is the place for you!

We collected many squished pennies!! If you are a fan of these souvenirs, DC is the place for you!