Tourist in Your Own Town: Smithsonian Weekend

DC at dusk
DC at dusk by brianmka

I’d lived here easily a year before I ever ventured down to the Mall and saw something at the Smithsonian. As many of said in our entries on why we love this town, the free museums in Washington are replete with options for the local tourist. As “Staycations” become more popular with gas prices on the rise, go out and see some of your own city and enjoy it.

This first column will focus on a few of the open exhibitions that are happening in the Smithsonian Museums on the Mall. But, as we explore the District’s Tourist options, we’ll be heading far afield from the Mall. Feel free to drop us hints in the comments about where your favorite local spots are.

For now, though, let’s take a look at what’s going on at the Smithsonian this weekend!

If you’re a fan of the photography you’re seeing on We Love DC, take a moment to pass on your thanks to our awesome Flickr photogs. But, also, consider heading down to the Smithsonian Castle to see the results of the 5th Smithsonian Photo Contest. The 36 photos that were finalists and winners hang there for viewing.

the dark and mysterious type
the dark and mysterious type by erin m

The Ripley International Gallery has the Jim Henson Exhibit, which just opened last weekend to rave reviews about town. I love the Muppets (specifically, my love for Beaker knows no bounds. This video made my week.) and pretty much everything that Jim Henson did, which means this is a must-see. The exhibit runs until October, but the earlier the better. There are videos of early Henson stuff, too. Sadly, no photography is permitted.

The Reynolds Center at the American Art Museum has, on permanent exhibition, a portion of the Hoppers that made last year so beautiful. While the whole of the Hopper exhibit has moved on, several remain at the American Experience exhibit, which also features the work of some of the big names in the last two centuries of American Art.

bench by cupcakepanda

While you’re there, check out the “Local Color” exhibit, which features DC-based artists from the 50s through the 70s, including Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, Paul Reed and Alma Thomas, to name just a few of the many who will be there. This exhibit only opened on the 4th of July and runs through the middle of October.

Saturday will be the Opening for a new exhibit at the Natural History Museum. Entitled, “Dig It!, the exhibit will be near and dear to gardeners and Earth enthusiasts who understand that Soil is the building block for everything that we eat, everything we build, and everywhere we go. With 5,000 square feet of museum space, you can bet there’s going to be more than just dirt.

Tourist in Your Own Town will be published every other Friday afternoon. Please email suggestions for topics to tom at we love dc dot com.

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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