Places to Go - Hanging with the Presidents at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington DC)


On Saturday, we packed up the minivan and headed to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for their family-friendly President's Day Celebration. Upon entering the courtyard, huge Presidential bobbleheads greeted us while an a cappella band rocked out Call me Maybe (um, random?). Craft tables offered visitors the opportunity to make free Abraham Lincoln hats, but my kids weren't feeling it (sadness - I really wanted a hat), so after a few photo ops (and an awesome surprise meet up with Not-So-SAHM), we decided to spend the rest of the morning checking out art.

First up, we headed to the third floor to see the Google Glass exhibit (check out the back story here), but crazy lines kept us away. (FYI - If you do want to check it out today (Monday the 17th) is the last day the interactive portrait/sculpture will be on display, so hurry over to the museum to take a look). When that failed, we decided to check out Presidential Portraits for awhile - funny how are their pictures look the same until Jimmy Carter and then everyone started innovating.

The presidents lead us to the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, which was AWESOME - a statue created with rice, a video portrait painted with glitter, a person carved from wood - we all loved it (if you want to check it out, hurry up - the exhibit ends February 23rd). And finally, we made our way to American Cool, the exhibit I'd secretly planned this whole adventure around. American Cool features 100 photographs of our nation's coolest people. As a photographer, it's all sorts of awesome - so many different styles and techniques. The kids were less dazzled, but they did have a fun time reading about some of the pioneers of cool (Dorthy Parker, Louise Brooks, etc.) and trying to figure out if they had heard of any of the people photographed (sadly, they only knew of John Stewart, Madonna, and (sort of) Tony Hawk).

Eventually, we perused the third floor's modern and contemporary art galleries, which are always fun with kids (lots of room to wander, rarely crowded). T could not stop looking at Edward & Nancy Kienholz's Sollie 17, where a door lets viewers peek into a staged (rather sad-looking) apartment.

Anyways, if you're looking for somewhere fun to take the children during this long cold winter, then the Smithsonian American Art Museum makes for a great outing (esp. the beautiful Kogod courtyard, where the kids can lunch and explore for awhile). The museum often hosts family-friendly events, click here to see the schedule. And on weekends, kids can also attend Portrait Story Days (click here to read Not-So-SAHM's review).


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