Washington, D.C. Journals

Smithsonian 101

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A travel journal to Washington, D.C. by BawBaw

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Photo, Washington, D.C., United States More Photos
Quote: This journal offers tidbits about my favorite Smithsonian attractions. The Smithsonian proudly claims to be the "world's largest museum complex." Considering that most of these fabulous attractions are also free, you have a formula for what is perhaps the best of all possible bargains for museum aficionados.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park (The National Zoo)

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Attraction | "Lessons from the National Zoo"

Smithsonian Institution Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
Many visitors to the DC area are unaware that Washington’s National Zoo (or more formally, the National Zoological Park) is part of the Smithsonian Institution. Located within the boundaries of Rock Creek Park in northwest DC, the 163-acre zoo complex is well away from the hustle and bustle of National Mall. Of course, being part of the Smithsonian means that this is no ordinary zoo—it is just the public face of a much larger organization dedicated to advancing knowledge about the animal kingdom and finding ways to save endangered species.For kids of all ages, however, it really is all about the animals—with the National Zoo serving up subliminal biology lessons at every turn. Our most rec...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2010

Smithsonian National Zoological Park (The National Zoo)
3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 673-4800

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Attraction | "A Grand Temple to Nature"

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
Himself and Yours Truly have been visiting the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) for nearly four decades. Over time we have escorted tours of this grand edifice with children, parents, out-of-town friends and extended family, Girl Scout troops, and now grandchildren. Not even the most blasé museum-goer can fail to be impressed—and the WOW factor starts with the architecture and the setting.NMNH occupies a prime piece of real estate along Washington’s National Mall. With one entrance on Constitution Avenue and another on Madison Drive, it has a prestigious position between the West Building of the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of American History. The Madison Driv...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 26, 2010

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
(202) 633-1000

Smithsonian Institution

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Attraction | "Doin’ the Smithsonian"

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
"Saturday I'll do the Smithsonian." So spoke my visiting colleague from our home office in California. He was in town over the weekend and wanted to see a few of the local attractions."Wonderful!" I replied. "Which museum do you plan to visit?""You know," he said, looking a bit confused, "the Smithsonian Museum.""Yes," I continued patiently, "but which one?"The substance of this exchange is all too common. Most people living outside the Washington metropolitan area probably think of the Smithsonian as simply "a museum." In fact, the Smithsonian Institution is a collection of 19 great museums (many, but by no means ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 28, 2009

Smithsonian Institution
900 Jefferson Dr
Washington, D.C., United States 20013
(202) 633-8700

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

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Attraction | "Modern Art on the Mall"

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is not your average museum. For those open to the idea of "modern art"--that is, accepting the use of an expanded range of media and innovative forms to achieve artistic expression--the Hirshhorn is a great place to experience art as modern drama.Indeed, this whole process begins with an appreciation for the museum’s structure. Designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, the Hirshhorn is different from anything else visitors will find along the National Mall. Compared either affectionately or derisively to a "donut," a "drum," or a "spacecraft on the Mall," the museum i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 16, 2009

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW
Washington, District of Columbia
(202) 633-1000

Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of the American Indian

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Attraction | "A Native Longing Begets “A Native Place”"

Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of the American Indian Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
In September 2004, the Smithsonian threw a grand party to honor the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). As charter members of the new museum, Himself and Yours Truly were invited to an after-hours reception held as part of the inaugural festivities. The reception included well-stocked food and drink stations on three levels of the museum, including both hard and soft beverages (which one might decently argue against, given the tribes’ experience with alcohol). Menu selections endeavored to present "authentic" foods native to the New World. It was a rare occasion to hobnob Washington-style with lots of folks unaccustomed to such hobno...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 11, 2009

Smithsonian Institution: National Museum of the American Indian
Fourt Street and Independence Avenue on the National Mall
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 357-1300