Thursday, April 30, 2009

National Archives and Art

National Archives

We managed to find the Metro station this morning. It is only about 3 miles to the station. It has a huge 6 story parking terrace next to it with plenty of parking. It is about a 30 minutes train ride into the middle of the city. When we got off the Metro we were right in front of the National Archives building so we went there first. Today was kind of a test run to see how everything went with the train and walking around. I had forgotten how amazing the huge federal buildings are. Even the Federal Trade building across the street from the National Archives looks impressive.

Inside the Archives are the originial Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. There is even the 1297 Magna Carta. If you've seen the movie National Treasure with Nicholas Cage, the National Archive Building is where he stole the Declaration of Independence. There were also many displays on all of the different kind of information stored in the Archives such as the names of all of the soldiers in every war, information about the childhood and family of the American presidents, copies of old television shows and copies of the Census'.

We then crossed the street to the National Sculpture Garden. It is a beautiful garden with large linden trees and shrubs with a huge central fountain (in the winter it is an ice skating rink). Scattered around the garden are large sculptures. My favorite was a piece by Roy Lichtenstein called House I. It looked like a large brightly colored picture of a house almost like a child would draw. As you moved from one side to the other of the house or got closer to it, the house appeared to rotate and move toward you. It was very different.

We then crossed the street again to the National Gallery of Art (West Building). This gigantic building (impossible to describe how large it is) houses some very impressive and old art. I don't know very much about art but there were, of course, many names that even I recognized (Van Gogh, Monet, etc). We were running short of time so we had to hurry through but we decided that we will need to go back again when we can take more time because there was just so much to see.

Tomorrow we will start on the Smithsonian museums... perhaps Air & Space or Natural History.

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