Monday, January 23, 2017

National Gallery of Art: East Building

Date of Visit: January 22, 2017

Somehow after all these years of visiting and living in the D.C. area the National Gallery of Art is one place Mik has never been except their sculpture garden, which reminds me I still haven't taken him over to the Hirshhorn one. The East Building in particular has been on our list to visit ever since it reopened in November.

One of my favorite parts of the museum is the Terrace, where they have a few sculptures on display and you can get a good view of Pennsylvania Avenue. Mik liked the giant rooster, but he thinks it should be repainted red.

He also really enjoyed the Alexander Calder pieces on display in one of the exhibits on the Terrace level.

Mik also had fun taking this picture of our cousin, Kirsten. He thought this art looked like a tongue and he knew if he asked her to stick her tongue out for a photo she would without question.

We did not have much time to explore the whole museum because Kirsten had to get on the road home, so we kind of bounced around to a few of the different towers and levels to get a general feel of what was on display currently. This did still allow us to experience what I think is the most interesting thing to do at this museum - the elevators.

The elevators vary greatly in size depending on where you are in the museum, although thankfully there are none that are like the tiny one at the National Portrait Gallery. The most fun in the giant elevator in Tower 3, especially if you can get it to yourself, which we did the first and last time we used it. The second time we were on it there were other people and Kirsten said that if there weren't any people in the elevator she could probably do a cartwheel in it. Thus, when we got on it to go back to the ground level to leave and we had it to ourselves I told her now she could do a cartwheel.

If you want to experience the terrace you have to go to that level from Tower 1 or 2. These towers both have elevators have a sort of hexagon shape and are quite small, but were still adequate for a wheelchair and probably five people. Tower 2 also has a second elevator near the stairs that is a good size for those that want to access the terrace and not experience the small elevators that can be kind of claustrophobic.

Mik's favorite piece of art was this one that reminds him of the art he has hanging in his room.

Overall it was a fun visit to the museum and Mik wants to go back to see the parts we missed this time.

Destination Info:
National Gallery of Art - East Building 
4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC

Thursday, January 12, 2017

National Postal Museum

Date of Visit: January 12, 2017

I thought it had been awhile since we visited the National Postal Museum as we probably hadn't gone since moving to D.C. in 2013, but Mik then thought it hadn't been since I went to American University for a semester in 2006. While I definitely have been since then, it really may have been that long ago for him considering it seems we never have posted about it on this blog. Also, last we remember the museum was all on the lower level and the exhibit space on the level you enter apparently has been there since September 2013.

Despite the museum now at least partially existing on the level you enter, it still remains the most awkward of the Smithsonian museums to enter because it also an active post office building, which makes it a government building with security you actually go through versus the Smithsonian museums often just checking bags. While I ignored Mik pointing out the accessible entrance for the actual post office, I did find out that in fact you can go through there to get into the building for the museum, although it seems easier to just use the entrance we always use on 1st Street.

Our focus for this visit was the temporary exhibit "Trailblazing: 100 Years of Our National Parks," but we also spent some time exploring the permanent exhibits in the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery since that exhibit space was all new to us, although to some extent it seemed to be just a refresh of exhibits that used to be downstairs. Overall we really liked the area and even enjoyed the interactive parts, although Mik couldn't really use them on his own.

Of course, the "Trailblazing: 100 Years of Our National Parks" exhibit did end up being our favorite. The layout was interesting with it having different display cases about the various types of national park units including National Historical Parks, National Seashores, and obviously actual National Parks. We also enjoyed experiencing the old postmaster's suite, which is an area they now use as temporary exhibit space. The interactive part of making your own national park stamp was particularly fun as you even got to crop the photo, but we were disappointed you couldn't email it yourself like you could the stamp collection in the permanent exhibit area.

Destination Info:
National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002