Posts belonging to Category 'Museums'

National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, 801 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, 801 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery focuses on people who have had an impact on the culture and history of the United States. In addition to politicians and presidents there are portraits of entertainers, sports figures, political activists, champions and scoundrels.

The National Portrait Gallery always has several galleries filled with new exhibits. In addition to these new exhibits, there are many galleries that house the museum’s permanent exhibits. Permanent exhibits include:

  • America’s Presidents
  • American Origins, 1600-1900
  • Bravo! (performing arts including stage and circus)
  • Champions (sports figures)
  • Jo Davidson – Biographer in Bronze
  • The Struggle for Justice
  • Twentieth Century Americans

America’s Presidents Exhibit

The America’s Presidents exhibit is a complete collection of portraits of the presidents. The exhibit includes the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart and the cracked plate photograph of Abraham Lincoln. George Washington (1st president), Andrew Jackson (7th president), Abraham Lincoln (16th president), Theodore Roosevelt (26th president) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd president) all had great impact on the history of the United States and receive greater coverage in this exhibit.

American Origins, 1600-1900

The American Origins exhibit consists of seventeen galleries and small spaces. Included are portraits of Queen Elizabeth I of England, Pocahontas, Powhatan (chief of the Algonquian federation of Indians in Virginia), E Tow Oh Koam (Iroquois leader), Ho Nee Yeath Taw No Row (Mohawk leader), Phillis Wheatley (slave turned successful writer), Olaudah Equiano (slave turned abolitionist), Anne Catharine Hoof Green (managed the Maryland Gazette that covered events leading to the American Revolution), Samuel Seabury (a religious leader favoring reconciliation with Great Britain in 1774), Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee (delegate to the Second Continental Congress), Horatio Gates (a British soldier later appointed as a brigadier general in the Continental army), Marquis de Lafayette, Thayendanegea – Joseph Brant (a chief who encouraged Iroquois to fight against the Americans) and hundreds more.

Jo Davidson – Biographer in Bronze

This exhibit includes 14 sculptures including John Martin (artist, painter), Lincoln Steffens (journalist with an interest in political corruption, muckraker, political philosopher with some enthusiasm for Communism), Gertrude Stein (an American writer who lived in Paris) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Struggle for Justice

This exhibit focuses on people who worked for establishing civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups. Included are portraits of Lucretia Mott (women’s rights), Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (women’s rights), Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Andrew Carnegie, W.E.B. Du Bois, Carrie Chapman Catt, George Washington Carver, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Rosa Parks and many others.

Click National Portrait Gallery Website to visit the website of the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at 801 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

Closest Metro Station: The Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station on the Red Line is nearest to the Portrait Gallery.

Museum of American History

Smithsonian Institution - Museum of American History

Smithsonian Institution - Museum of American History - Constitution Avenue Side

The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History is as large as it looks in the picture. The museum which opened in 1964 consists of 750,000 square feet, although not all of it is display space. In addition to the three levels for displays there is a basement, two office-administrative levels and a mechanical area on the roof. The ongoing exhibits include:

Holidays on Display
Invention Case: Hot Spots of Invention
Invention Case: Toying with Invention
Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life
America on the Move
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
Artifact Walls – Cameras Before Digital
Artifact Walls – Creating Hawai’i
Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian
Communities in a Changing Nation: The Promise of 19th-Century America
First Ladies at the Smithsonian
Gunboat Philadelphia
Invention at Play
Landmark Objects
Lighting a Revolution—Electricity Hall
Musical Instruments
National Treasures of Popular Culture
On the Water: Stories from Maritime America
Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration
Power Machinery
Science in American Life
Spark!Lab
The Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem
Stories on Money
Taking America to Lunch
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Within These Walls . . .

And there are various changing exhibits as well.

Ruby Shoes Belonging to Dorothy

Ruby Shoes Belonging to Dorothy - Worn by Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz

Many people who visit the museum are particularly interest in an article displayed as part of the National Treasures of Popular Culture exhibit. That article, articles really, are the red sequin shoes know as the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in her role as Dorothy in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. In 1979 these shoes were donated to the museum anonymously, and they are one of the most asked about treasures in the museum.

Click Ruby Slippers for a StationStart.com entry that provides more detailed information on Dorothy’s ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.

Click Wizard of Oz to see a StationStart.com entry that summarizes information about the Wizard of Oz in and around Washington DC.

Click Museum of American History Website to visit the website of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History Website.

The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History is located on Constitution Avenue NW between 12th and 14th Streets NW, Washington, DC. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Closest Metro Station: The Federal Triangle Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is nearest to the Constitution Avenue NW entrance to the museum, but the Smithsonian Metro Station, also on the Blue and Orange Lines, is only a little bit further from the National Mall entrance to the museum.

National Geographic Museum

National Geographic Museum in Washington DC

National Geographic Museum in Washington DC

Replica of Terra Cotta Warrior From the Qin Dynasty
Replica of Terra Cotta Warrior From the Qin Dynasty

The National Geographic Museum in Washington DC has changing exhibitions, some of which are fascinating. Until March 31, 2010 there was an exhibit of some of the Terra Cotta Warriors that were produced to guard the grave of China’s first emperor.

Pictures were not permitted in the exhibit, but there was a reproduction terra cotta soldier at the end of the exhibit that could be photographed and touched. Contemporary Chinese artisans in Xi’an produced this reproduction using the same techniques that were used to produce the striking originals over 2,000 years ago.

The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the National Geographic Museum.

Closest Metro Station: At about three blocks away, the Farragut North Metro Station on the Red Line is nearest to the National Geographic Museum. The Farragut West Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is about four blocks away.

Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum from North/Mall Side

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum from North/Mall Side

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is a huge, huge museum. The museum’s 161,145 square feet of exhibit space contain the display 61 aircraft, 51 large space related objects plus thousands of smaller things. The build is 635 feet in length, 225 feet wide and almost 83 feet high. Exhibits include:

Milestones of Flight
America by Air
Flight Simulator Zone
Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
Golden Age of Flight
Jet Aviation
Early Flight
How Things Fly
Looking at Earth
Explore the Universe
Lunar Exploration Vehicles
Moving Beyond Earth
Space Race
Sea-Air Operations
World War II Aviation
Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air
Exploring The Planets
Wright Brothers and Invention of the Aerial Age
Apollo to the Moon
Beyond The Limits
plus
IMAX Theatre
Albert Einstein Planetarium

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has an annex located in fairly nearby northern Virginia, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. But that part of the museum is not covered in StationStart.com, because for the moment there is no nearby Metro station.

Click Air and Space Museum Website to visit the website of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The museum is located at 601 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20472. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Closest Metro Station: The L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station on the Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green Lines is nearest to the Air and Space Museum.

Museum of the American Indian

Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian the Beaver and the Mink, by Susan Point

Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian with the Beaver and the Mink by Susan Point as the Sun

In the image above I have used the sculpture The Beaver and the Mink by Susan Point as the sun over the National Museum of the American Indian. The sculpture is on display on the first floor of the museum.

Museum of the American Indian, North/Mall Side

Museum of the American Indian, North/Mall Side

In addition to changing exhibitions, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has many interesting exhibits including:

Our Universes Exhibition (objects depicting the sun, moon & stars)
Our Peoples Exhibition
Our Lives Exhibition
Rasmuson Theater
Mitsitam Cafe

The Mitsitam Cafe deserves special mention. This cafeteria style restaurant has the best and most interesting food I have ever encountered in any museum. The food is organized by five regions of the Western Hemisphere and inspired by Native recipes from those regions.

Food from Mitsitam Cafe at the Museum of the American Indian

Food from Mitsitam Cafe at the Museum of the American Indian

Click Museum of the American Indian Website to visit the website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The museum is located at Independence Avenue SW & 4th Street SW, Washington, DC. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Closest Metro Station: The Federal Center SW Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is nearest to the Museum of the American Indian.

Natural History Museum

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has some of the most interesting exhibits including:

The Hope Diamond
Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond (January 28 through August 1, 2010)
Dinosaurs
Ocean Hall
Mammal Hall
Fossils of all kinds
Geology, Gems & Minerals
African Cultures
Western Cultures
Reptiles
Insects
Butterflies and Plants
IMAX Theater

Click Natural History Museum Website to visit the website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The museum is located at 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, in Washington, D.C. 20560. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Closest Metro Station: The Smithsonian Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is nearest to the Natural History Museum.

National Postal Museum

us_postal_musuem_001_0

National Postal Museum Entrance on First Street NE

The National Postal Museum is located just across First Street NE from Union Station in Washington DC. The museum has the following permanent exhibits: Binding the Nation (the early history of mail service), Customers and Communities (evolution of mail delivery), Moving the Mail (advances in postal transportation technology), The Art of Cards and Letters, and Philatelic Gallery (exhibiting some of the best stamp collections).

The museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002. It is just across 1st Street NE from Union Station. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the National Postal Museum.

Closest Metro Station: The Union Station Metro Station on the Red Line is nearest to the National Postal Museum.

StationStart.com