Thursday, January 15, 2015

National Museum of the American Indian

Date of Visit: January 15, 2015

We've been meaning to visit the National Museum of the American Indian ever since the Nation to Nation exhibit on treaties opened back in September. Waiting until now worked out well, though, as a new temporary exhibit opened this week ("Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota—U.S. War of 1862") and we still got to see the first treaty on display before they switch it out next month.

Since the last time we visited this museum was back in 2006, we ended up wandering through most of the museum. Most of our time was spent in the "Nation to Nation: Treaties between the United States and American Indian Nations" exhibit, but by the end Mik said it seemed too repetitive. I guess to some extent it kind of was with it being making the treaties and then how they were broken or honored with each panel given the perspective from both sides. Mostly, though, I think it was more that he got overwhelmed with information because it covered quite a bit.

Mik's favorite parts of the museum were the displays in the atrium near the elevators on the 4th and 3rd floor. Most interesting to him was the interactive touch screens for the Window on the Collection Exhibitions, which allowed him to get a close up look at the artifacts on display. The ones on the 4th floor (pictured above) were a little tough for him to get up to and use, but once he figured out a good position he spent quite a bit of time using it. The ones on the 3rd floor are slightly different in set up and were easier for him to use.

He also liked the little question and answer displays interactive turning displays that were related to the Nation to Nation exhibit.

He enjoyed watching some of the videos in the Our Universes exhibit. However, some of them were on small low screens in front of a high backed bench, which while architecturally cool they made it impossible to view them well because there was no good angle to roll close enough for him to get a decent view of the screen.

Other than the issue with the design of the screens and benches in the Our Universe exhibit the museum is a good very modern accessible conscious designed museum. This includes button activated automatic doors to enter the building and companion bathrooms at least on the third and fourth floor. Of course, there are also elevators, which Mik was quick to say we had to take a picture of to add to photos of cool elevators we've encountered. The elevators are also nice and large, although the call buttons by each are almost too well blended with the decor/architectural design.

Destination Info:

National Museum of the American Indian
4th St & Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC

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