Even though there is still work going on to revitalize and improve the National Mall itself, the nearby Smithsonian Museums are still open and full of fun!
You all know how much I love a good trip to the National Mall to check out a Smithsonian. I could probably go every day if the thought of having an uncooperative kid didn’t sometimes keep me close to home.
But with the cooler temps January and February typically offer, I’m on the lookout for something new and fun to do indoors. I mean, you can only hit up the indoor play area at the local mall so many times.
One great thing about visiting a Smithsonian is that you can pretty much see something new every time you visit. Also, with so many interesting hands-on learning activities, it will keep even the most antsy of kids entertained. Isn’t the National Museum of Natural History totally like an indoor zoo with all of those animals (and minus the smell)?
Future Archaeologist? Osteologist? Anthropologist? Just plain crazy to be letting my toddler look at this exhibit?
Our recent favorite has been the Written in Bone exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. I don’t know what it is about those dim lights and bodies that my daughter loves so much. In a few years when she needs counseling, maybe I’ll know why :). Unfortunately with that exhibit ending, I’m on the lookout for something else to keep my squirmy 18-month-old interested for more than five seconds. She’s reached the point where the stroller just can’t contain her.
Here’s a look at a few exhibits ending this month and next at the DC Smithsonian museums you may want to check out if you’re as stir crazy as I will inevitably be by January 15th.
In the winter, Smithsonian museums on the National Mall in DC are typically open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery (located near Metro Center) is open a bit later from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free, and limited street parking is available during the day. I’ve had the best luck finding parking in the mornings around 10:30 a.m., and will sometimes take the metro to Smithsonian to just avoid the stress altogether.
Exhibits Ending Soon at DC Smithsonian Museums
- National Museum of the American Indian:
- A Song for the Horse Nation. The story of the horse’s influence on tribes across the U.S. Ends Jan. 7
- Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden:
- Directions: Antonio Rovaldi. A video installation looking at the work of Rovaldi, exploring how distance is represented in art. Ends Jan. 13
- Black Box: DEMOCRACIA. A video project about a group performing Parkour in Madrid. Ends Jan. 21.
- Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. An outdoor installation showcasing the 12 signs o the Chinese Zodiac. Ends Feb. 24.
- Ai Weiwei: According to What? Ends Feb. 24.
- S. Dillon Ripley Center:
- National Portrait Gallery:
- The Confederate Sketches of Adalbert Voick. A German immigrant and dentist, Confederate sympathizer, Volck created propaganda during the Civil War. Many of his original etchings are on display. Ends Jan. 21.
- 1812: A Nation Emerges. Outlines many of the key figures involved in the outcome of the War of 1812. Through Jan. 27.
- The Renwick Gallery:
- 40 under 40: Craft Futures. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery, the museum is showcasing 40 works by 40 artists under the age of 40. The exhibit explores the evolving notions of craft within the fields including ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, installation art, fashion design, and more. Through Feb. 3.
- Freer/Sackler Galleries:
- Shadow Sites: Recent Work by Jananne al-Ani. Video works examining the Middle Eastern landscape. Ends Feb. 10.
- Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ends Feb. 24
- Enlightened Beings: Buddhism in Chinese Painting. Exploring four main categories of enlightened beings dating from the Song to Qing dynasties. Ends Feb. 24.
- National Museum of African Art:
- Lalla Essaydi: Revisions. Ends Feb. 24.