Places to Go - The National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C)






All summer long, I've been wanting to see Allen Ginsberg's photography show at the National Gallery of Art (yes, I still like On the Road, despite being in my thirties). Further, I've read about the National Gallery's Stories in Art program (for children ages 4-7) and wanted to check it out. Well, summer being summer, time sort of slipped away from us. And before I knew it, the Ginsberg exhibit was about to close (it ended in early September) and the summer session of Stories in Art had ended (the winter series begins in January). So, during Ginsberg's final week, I packed up the children (all three) and drove the mini-van to the National Gallery (or, rather, the $22 parking lot next to National Gallery).

I was a little nervous as art museum's aren't exactly made for children. This fear was not alleviated as I entered the galleries and encountered several mean stares from the other patrons (and at this point in the morning my children were all exceptionally well-behaved). Still I persevered and watching F (my almost-five year old) and P (my almost-4 year old) react to the art was truly wonderful. I loved all their questions - "Mom, why's that lady sad? Why is that man purple? Why is that girl wearing such a fancy dress? What's that a picture of? Isn't this the most beautiful thing ever?" etc. The baby, however, was a different story. I was hoping he would relax in his stroller (as he often does) but all T wanted to do was attack the art. Full-scale attack. So we had to leave (sadly). Luckily, we did have a chance to check out the Ginsberg exhibit, but unfortunately (1) black and white photos bore my children. REALLY bore my children and (2) all of the photos had handwritten captions which my children would not let me read (see my picture above of the Neal Cassidy pic). On the upside, on the way out we stumbled across an Alex Katz painting, I'm a little obsessed with him lately so I was sort of awestruck for a moment.

Despite our need to escape the museum, the day was not lost, as the National Gallery has a lovely sculpture garden, complete with a cafe and a gigantic fountain. So we spent the rest of the day at the fountain eating ice cream and chasing ducks. And watching the baby attack the landscaping (much better than attacking art). All in all a lovely day.

How about everyone else? Has anyone ever tried the Stories in Art program? How is it?

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