Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trip to Washington DC - Day Six

Today we started at another Smithsonian - the National Gallery of Art.  I'm pretty sure I was the only one with any interest here.  I just thought it was so neat to see actual original paintings by the greatest artists ever.  The rest of my family was not as into it.  Mark did a great job of playing different games with our kids so I could walk through and enjoy the exhibits.

It was so neat to see paintings I had only ever seen in history books...

 Le Gourmet (1901) by Pablo Picasso 

 Mademoiselle Sicot (1865) by Auguste Renoir

 Banks of the Seine, Vetheuil (1880) by Claude Monet

 The Olive Orchard (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh

 Still Life (1918) by Pablo Picasso

 The Old Musician (1862) by Edouard Manet

 Daniel in the Lions' Den (c. 1614/1616) by Sir Peter Paul Rubens

 The Mill (1645/1648) by Rembrandt Van Rijn

 I LOVED the use of light in these last few paintings...

Ship in Distress off a Rocky Coast (1667) by Ludolf Backhuysen

We admired the beauty of this museum as we walked through looking at all the paintings.

 The Shipwreck (1772) by Claude Joseph Vernet

 Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight (1835) by Joseph Mallord William Turner

 The Voyage of Life: Childhood (1842) by Thomas Cole

Next we moved on to another Smithsonian - the National Museum of American History.  There were quite a few really fun exhibits here.  The highlight of course was viewing the Star-Spangled Banner.
This is the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write his famous lyrics.  It is almost 200 years old and measures 30-by 34-feet.  As I sat in front of this flag and thought about the history behind it I was touched and teary-eyed.  We live in such a unique and special country.  So many amazing people have given their lives to keep it that way.  Many emotions washed over me, but most of all I felt very blessed.

Here Colton and Kyle are turning the crank on this machine in which they have put some cotton.  The cotton goes through the machine and the seeds are separated from the cotton...

 Kyle is showing the seedless cotton...

 This was Jacqueline Kennedy's evening gown.  She wore this yellow silk evening gown with an overlay of crepe chiffon in 1961 for the Kennedy administration's first state dinner.

 This is Martha Washington's Silk Gown which she wore in the early 1780's.  The silk is painted with a design of flowers, butterflies, and other insects.  The collar and cuffs are reproductions.

 This is Mary Lincoln's silk taffeta two-piece dress she wore in 1861 with an evening bodice as the top piece.  The pattern of black stripes and purple flowers is woven into the silk.  Later in the 19th century, the original evening bodice was replaced with this daytime bodice made of fabric taken from the skirt.

 The next pictures were from the exhibit "America on the Move".

This is a life vest from a survivor of the Titanic and a camera from a passenger of the Carpathia which came to the rescue of the Titanic.  It was used to take pictures of the survivors and the icebergs.

Taking a break...

This exhibit had a whole bunch of hands-on stuff for kids to do.  It showed exhibits of popular board games and such and told of how they came about.

This was a highlight for me that my family got a lot of mileage out of in teasing me incessantly.  I was excited to see Julia Child's kitchen!  The Smithsonian moved her entire kitchen into this museum so we could all see where the magic took place.  I love to cook, and I admire Julia's tenacity in learning the art of cooking even when others told her she wouldn't make it.

Here is what was said of her at the exhibit: "Bon Appetit!  Julia Child worked in this kitchen, in her Cambridge, Massachusetts, home, for 45 years.  She shared the passions, philosophies, and products of that kitchen with family, friends, colleagues, and fans.  In 2001, Julia decided to share her kitchen with millions, donating it to the National Museum of American History."

"In the kitchen, Julia Child tested recipes, wrote books, and trained many cooks.  When she persuaded the French masters of cuisine to teach her their craft in the 1950's, no one knew where that training would lead.  But Julia used it to lasting effect.  She advanced the role of women in the culinary professions and made the callings of chef, cookbook author, and cooking teacher satisfying and financially rewarding."

"Julia Child was among the first to grasp the enormous potential of educational television.  Beginning in the 1960's, she created a format that merged education and entertainment.  Later, using her own kitchen, she brought a world of cooks and cooking into the homes of millions through public television cooking shows."

These are the famous Ruby Slippers Judy Garland wore in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

This exhibit shows the earliest Muppets by Jim Henson.  These figures are the only Muppet characters made solely by him.  I LOVED watching the Muppets when I was little!

 This is Michael Jackson's trademark black felt fedora hat.

The original Catwoman Costume from the 1960s Batman TV series.

After the war for independence, George Washington was the best-known and most respected of all the revolutionary leaders.  Elected to preside over the Constitutional Convention, he helped to legitimize the proceedings and encourage the Constitution's acceptance.

There was little doubt among the delegates that the office of the presidency they were creating would be filled first by General Washington.  His reputation was beyond reproach and his mere presence during the debates eased the fears of many delegates that a strong executive would naturally evolve into a monarchy.

Pictured here are George Washington's portable writing case and field telescope, used during the Revolutionary War.

 Objects owned by or associated with Lincoln quickly became relics, reminding Americans of Lincoln's greatness and challenging them to keep his ideals alive.

One of the Smithsonian Institution's most treasured icons is this top hat, worn by Lincoln to Ford's Theatre on the night of his assassination.

In October 1776, American troops in a ragtag collection of newly built boats faced an advancing line of British ships on Lake Champlain in New York. The Americans, under the command of Benedict Arnold, were forced to retreat, but not before they fought the British to a standstill. One of the American vessels, the Philadelphia, sank during the battle and rested on the bottom of the lake until 1935. It was recovered that year with much of its equipment intact and came to the Museum in 1964, complete with the 24-pound ball that sent the gunboat to the bottom.

 Lobsterbacks:  As early as 1645, the British Army adopted scarlet as the color for its woolen regimental coats.  A difficult and expensive color to produce, bright red was meant to convey the superiority of British troops - and to strike terror in the hearts of troops clad in lesser hues.

This is the uniform of His Majesty's Forty-fourth Regiment of Foot, about 1768, worn by Lieutenant Eli Dagworthy, a loyalist who served in the British Army from 1755 to 1775.

 Commanding Presence:  George Washington stood tall when he accepted his commission to lead the Continental army on June 15, 1775 - more than six feet, in fact.  And he cut an impressive figure in his uniform: "His frame is padded with well-developed muscles, indicating great strength," wrote a friend in 1760.  he has "rather long arms and legs," large hands and feet, a head that is "well-shaped, though not large" with "blue gray penetrating eyes," and "dark brown hair which he wears in a que [braid]."  His "movements and gestures are graceful, his walk majestic, and he is a splendid horseman."

This is the waistcoat and breeches, 1783, and regimental coat, 1789, that Washington wore for commemorative portraits and special occasions.

George Washington's sword:  Washington wore this battle sword during his years as general and commander in chief of the Continental army.  He later bequeathed it to his nephew, admonishing him to draw it "only in self defense or in defense of [the] country and its rights."

 This is the camp chair and field glasses used by Ulysses S. Grant.

These chairs and the table were used at the surrender at Appomattox.  Lee sat in the caned armchair, Grant in the upholstered chair.  Grant signed the surrender document on the table.  The furniture came to the Smithsonian early in the 20th century.

After leaving the American History Museum we went to dinner at Bullfeathers near the Capitol.  I had the MOST AMAZING PIZZA!  Oh my goodness was it ever good!!  If I go back I will definitely have it again.  It was called the Chesapeake and it had alfredo sauce based with jumbo lump crab, green onions, mushrooms, bacon and old bay seasoning.  WOW!

This was the view from our hotel room window of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

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