If you are under the impression that the Smithsonian is nothing more than a single stuffy museum where only dust-covered PhD’s go on their days off, then man oh man have you got another thing coming!
Hi guys, it’s Shelby again, and I’m here in Washington DC, capitol of the United States and probably one of the most fun places to be in North America. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s just take a bit of a closer look at the Smithsonian so that you understand where I’m coming from.
The Smithsonian Institute consists of 19 museums (and the National Zoo), 17 of which are located in DC itself, and 11 of which can be found within walking distance of each other right on the National Mall in the heart of DC. And before you get your knickers in a twist at the thought of spending time at museums, consider the fact that these museums cover subjects as far reaching as aviation (the Air and Space Museum), Natural History (the Natural History museum where “Night at the Museum II” was filmed) Seven different art museums, a museum dedicated just to design, another on American History, one just for Native Americans (National Museum of the American Indian) and one of the best Zoos in the country.
Intrigued yet? What if I told you that some of the best food to be had in DC can be found at the National Museum of the American Indian ? Or that you can scope out the Universe at the Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum? Or take a peek at the big screen IMAX Theater at the Museum of Natural History where you can see your films up close and personal on the big wrap-around screen? Okay, how about the free Friday night jazz concerts in the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art? (Yes, I know, the National Gallery of Art isn’t technically part of the Smithsonian – but it is right there, close enough that it might as well be).
The point is, even if you don’t find museums themselves to be of interest, you’re going to love the Smithsonian just for the view. Every Smithsonian museum on the National mall is an architectural wonder, with some of them sporting domes and columns that will have you wondering how on earth they put them in place. And each building sports its own gardens; some modern and crisp of line, others like old English rose gardens, or gardens specifically designed to attract hummingbirds, or butterflies. And did I mention the sculpture gardens?
There are several sculpture gardens attached to the Smithsonian Institute buildings on the National Mall. These house everything from classic-styled sculptures to eye-popping fountains and modern sculptures that would have M.C. Escher scratching his head.
The point is, there is so much to see, right here in the Smithsonian that you could probably spend your entire time wandering through the various museums and their extraordinary exhibits. Me, I got lost in the Hirshorn Gallery for an entire day! The place is built in a circle (like a donut) or rather like three donuts stacked on top of each other. And each donut or floor contains more art than I usually see in a year! And we’re not just talking about “painting on the wall” types of art, we’re talking 3D art and shadow art and glass art and sculptures and – well, you get the picture (yes, pun intended).
So don’t feel as if monuments and stuffy archives and money mints are the only things you have to do in DC. Take a day or two to get your feet wet at the Smithsonian; it’s definitely an eye-opener, and something you will never regret.
Signing off for now!
Love Always, Shelby (S.O.S).