Friday, November 28, 2008
Garden and Cosmos at America's Mall
We made our way to America's Mall, along with throngs of other people. There will be a big event there on January 20th, so we kept trying to imagine the space filled with 4 or so million people. Mike and Deb debated all day: "Should we plan on coming? How close should we try to be?"
Deb now works at the Freer and Sackler Galleries (where January 20th will be a day-of-work, somehow), home of Asian art and a specialized collection of American art that includes a lot of Whistlers. We learned quite a bit about the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex and research organization (9 museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo). And all of those museums are free and open to the public.
We went to the newly re-opened American History Museum, where Deb and I enjoyed the "Within These Walls" exhibit, as well as a glimpse of Julia Childs' Kitchen. ("Keep into the kitchen, and make it a real family room, and part of your life," said Julia.) We also saw a nice exhibit on the subject of book illustration, where I snapped this photo of Indian motorcycle images.
All of us walked to the beautiful American Indian Museum, where we had a delicious lunch. (Isn't it interesting that the acronym is AIM, as in the American Indian Movement? I'm sure there is a story there...) We noticed how the curves of the building, walking paths and pools en route to the museum create an atmospheric calm compared to the grid-like paths alongside the mall. After lunch Deb and I walked through the magical Enid A. Haupt Garden to the Freer and Sackler, where we swooned over the (east) Indian Garden and Cosmos show.
(That's three different types of "Indian" in a single blog post – one written while our thoughts are also tuned to the terrible situation in Mumbai.)
The Garden and Cosmos catalogue is absolutely sumptuous, and I've been pouring over it in the hours since we came home. I'm also planning to join the Freer and Sackler Galleries facebook page. I wish I had a month or two to spend exploring the museums along America's Mall, where displays of ingenuity and brilliance abound.