WDC: Day 3: Solo: Election Day

Began my day early at the White House Visitor Center and for the 2 hours I had the Museum to myself. What a treat. Since there are many hoops to go through for a tour of the White House, (if this is still possible), this route is the way to go. The movie associated with the visitor center is narrated by those who lived there, presidents, first ladies, and the children. It gives a unique perspective to the home. The capacity for the museum is 50, and hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 8 to 3. Call for specifics 202-208-2631.

The recently reopened Center has over 90 artifacts and many cases of memorabilia to drift through on your visit. There is a gift shop, but sadly it was closed. The National Park Service has once again done a five star renovation. It is the must see on 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

National Gallery

This was the next visit on my list of places to see and do. During the time of visit most museums had timed entry, if open at all. To access your time slot go to the museum web site, which is easily accessed through Auntie Google, and check for availability. Once you have obtained a reservation a confirmation email will be received promptly.

The National Gallery is a gift from Andrew W. Mellon. As stated perfectly in the National Gallery web site..

“The National Gallery of Art was conceived and given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon, a financier and art collector who served as secretary of the treasury under four presidents from 1921 to 1932. During his years as a public servant, Mellon came to believe that the United States should have a world-class national art museum comparable to those of other nations. In 1936 Mellon wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to offer his gift of paintings and sculpture for a new museum in Washington, DC, that he would build and finance with his own funds. Roosevelt endorsed Mellon’s offer, and Congress accepted his gift in 1937.”

Mellon had a very diverse taste in art. Representation from various periods and genres are housed in the Gallery from Degas to Rodin, and from Cassatt to Pissaro. Here are a few pics from his collections.

Part of the Museum is currently under renovation/restoration, however at the time of visit the outdoor sculpture garden was open. It is a relaxing spot for visit.

The National Portrait Gallery

Since my visit decades ago this museum has had many upgrades. The exhibit honoring Alexander von Humboldt was of particular interest. This German man of extraordinary intellect who traveled the world influenced the founding of the Smithsonian Museum. He spoke 8 languages, wrote 36 books, slept 4 hours a night, and in his 6 week visit to the United States influenced those in power to establish this world renowned museum. This exhibit was fascinating and one hopes that perhaps children can become acquainted with his genius.

The National Portrait Gallery also houses the portraits of American presidents. Here are a few portraits I found particularly unique:

What a lovely portrait of President Nixon.
Quite an odd, but intriguing work of President Clinton
Another very different representation of a President, Barack Obama

I spent over 3 hours at this museum, however you could spend days. Besides portraits and paintings there is stained glass, sculptures, and small vignettes describing the work being done by Smithsonian staff. The museum was formerly the US Patent Office and on the 3rd floor there are display cabinets with anything from Native American art to ceramic mugs. One could view the items in this cabinetry for hours. At the end of the hall in this area known as the Luce Foundation for American Art, is where curators examine and refurbish the collection. There are fascinating videos to view depicting how this work is done. No pictures are allowed here.

When visiting the museum obtain a map upon entry to ensure all areas are visited. This was my favorite DC museum.

Let’s close with a few more pictures from the museum.

The Supreme Court girls.
Georgia O’Keefe
Melinda and Bill Gates

And it’s all free… the best of our tax dollars spent!

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