Monday, January 28, 2013

Heads on a Stick and a Heaping Pile of Crabs - Putting a Snow Day to Good Use

Today was the Snow Day That Wasn't. As a result, our 8 year old had no school. After running some errands (family rule: chores first, then fun), I decided it was time to ditch work for the day and go have an adventure. Normally, I'd go the hiking/geocaching route, but given the cold gray day, I figured it was the perfect day to explore a few Smithsonians.

By now, our 8 year old has done the usual suspects (American History, Natural History and Air & Space Museums) a number of times. I figured we should try something different, so I set my sights on the National Gallery of Art. I found parking next to the Hirshhorn Gallery, and given how chilly it was outside, that would have to do.

The first exhibit you see is in the courtyard, and it's a series of animal heads. It was actually a really fun and kid friendly display, so that started things off on a good note.

I didn't expect to spend a long time at an art museum. I was just hoping we could have a look around, maybe find a piece or two could like or laugh at, and then move on to another museum. The Hrishhorn, ended up fitting this goal perfectly.

We walked through the Ai Weiwei exhibition, and with the right mindset, it was a lot of fun. Who doesn't love a heaping pile of crabs? Or the photos of the artist dropping a vase? Or a big old collection of stools glued together? I'm not sure what the photo essay of the building of the Olympic Stadium was supposed to mean, but they sure were impressive pictures.

After we had our fill of art, we head to the Natural History Museum's cafeteria, which is quite posh (and pricey), considering it's in the basement of a museum. We found two small, out of the way, exhibits to peruse (Birds of DC and When Time and Duty Permit: Collecting During WWII) and made our way back to the car. On the way back, we ducked into the National Museum of African Art for a bit. We saw more museum than art here (lots of empty space, and not many exhibits we could find), but we were still pleased we could duck in and take a look around.

The most amazing part of our day: we arrived back at the car to find it wasn't ticketed. Somehow I had managed to obey the parking laws and fill the meter correctly. Whoo!

It was a fun and eclectic day of museum hopping.

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