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!

Thanksgiving 2020: WDC Day #2

Today we stopped at the Ford Theater, a short block from our hotel. While closed it was a formidable site to see. Across the street is a book store with 34 feet of stacked books all relating to Lincoln,

and the home where Lincoln died.

Then we ate breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. What a great breakfast spot. Its walls held police badges from all across the nation.

Since it was election day we took in some famous DC churches for prayer.

This is the Washington National Cathedral. It is a place of much beauty and while I would like to espouse the fine points of the Cathedral I am unable as the brochure I grabbed was in French. That said, it is an Episcopal cathedral, and while there a prayer vigil for the election was being conducted. The docents were welcoming and available for questions. A must see.

Here is A Prayer for An Election the docents passed out..

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives ; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – taken from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979, Public domain.

The Main Church

Next we visited The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

One of its amazing altars

Access to the Roman Catholic Basilica is limited. If visiting bring identification as there are security measures in place. When lighting a candle one must have a staffer do this function. Visits are limited to 30 minutes.

As an aside, the Archbishop of Washington DC, the Rev. Wilton Gregory, has recently been appointed as Cardinal by Pope Francis. Kudos to Cardinal Gregory! As a member of the weekly televised mass for the Basilica I have been privileged to experience his homilies. What an amazing man, and what a great honor has been bestowed on him. Thank you Pope Francis for recognizing this man of faith.

Then off to Arlington National Cemetery, which while their museum was closed, still offered an amazing tour via trolley. This is a must do and see.

Some sites from the tour.

The Eternal Flame
RBG Resting Place. This is a very heavily trafficked site, and rightfully so for such an amazing human being who did so much for all of us.

And let us not forget the wind behind the sail.

Her husband, Martin lies next to her.

After this visit we found many DC streets closed so we returned to our hotel for election returns.

What a phenomenal visit, and while my daughter and psil Gregory left for their journey to work on the New Orleans Film Festival, I stayed. More to come in tomorrow’s blog..

Our Lady of Hope altar at the Basilica. Hope – what we all need in this time of pandemic.

Election Day 2020: Washington DC

Interesting time for a visit to DC, wouldn’t you say?? However this was the date of a Thanksgiving get together for my daughter and psil, (potential son-in-law). Little did I know a month later we would have something to be really thankful for.

Welcome, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

We began our visit seeing many of the DC sites boarded up. Throughout the first day of our visit workmen were scurrying with large pieces of wood and saws as they covered the windows, doors, and other glass enclosures of the DC buildings.

Besides these planked walls chain fencing squares 8 foot high were placed in front of prominent government buildings. It was a sad site for me to see as when I was a little girl I watched President Johnson play with his beagles on the White House lawn. During this I was able to stick my face through the wrought iron fencing to watch. How things change.

Besides these protections a line of 30 trucks carrying concrete blockades lined the monument area. It was an unsettling visit as I wondered, “Is this my country?” And the most unsettling, the Proud Boys had a party in our hotel.

Here are some photos from the Black Lives Matter Plaza directly in front of the White House.

This was a peaceful place with folks singing and playing guitars. There were no loud voices with the exception of some red capped folks loudly espousing their political choice. The police presence was ubiquitous, however, only silent, and watchful in their protection of those reading the poster’s sentiments.

Next, was a belated birthday celebration for my daughter, and psil. Dining at PJ Clarke’s was a delightful experience with charming ambience, and delicious food. My grand dog, Mo, was smuggled into the restaurant in a large purse, and slept as we ate. This restaurant resonates old time DC with great photos on the walls, and tables designated to former political leaders.

The night being young we explored the Washington DC monuments. How beautiful they are at night.

Jeanie and Greg, psil.

Quieter Times in D.C.

Reflecting on my late April visit to Washington D.C. here are some pictures of the Capitol area. We are so very fortunate and blessed with our democracy.

Let us stay strong and pull together.

The Pentagon
The Air Force Memorial and Pentagon
The Air Force Memorial
Iowgema Memorial
View from the Iowgema Memorial
New Carillon being built on memorial grounds.
Let us not forget.. Arlington National Cemetery

We are a united nation.