on April 2, 2009
The National Portrait Gallery is one of my most favorite museums in DC. On the main floor, I love going through portraits of individuals from early American history (John Randolph, Daniel Webster, etc) - putting faces to names from history books. There's also a rotating section of non-portrait paintings by American artists on the ground. On an upper level, there is - of course - the section containing presidential portraits. Very cool. Every president is featured in this section and the more quirky/relaxed styles of the portraits of newer presidents is interesting (oh, and check out the juxtaposition of Bush Senior and Junior - one standing, suit clad, serious and the other sitting, grinning, in shirt sleeves). On the top most level, you can see sports portraits, which are pretty neat - plus the architecture up at the top of the building is very cool. There's even an area where you can essentially see a whole bunch of pieces jammed together/in storage - they aren't portraits, just other smithsonian owned pieces.Those are just my favorite sections. People also tend to enjoy the portraits of modern celebrities. Oh! And almost forgot, I love the military oriented section where there are paintings of individuals like Patton. It's free, there's a cool covered courtyard to chill out in, and it's right by the Chinatown metro stop (and all of Chinatown's restaurants!). Check it out.
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