Category Archives: Museums

Scenes from Forces of Nature at the Renwick Gallery

 

After being closed for over five months, the Renwick Gallery is one of the Smithsonian museums that will reopen its doors again starting this Friday, May 14.  And before you think I was able to get in early to capture these scenes, let me clarify that they are from a visit there last fall.

The totality of time lusters the dusk by Lauren Fensterstock looks like floating storm

Sasha and I went to experience the Forces of Nature exhibition last November right before the Renwick shut down due to rising Covid rates.  Given the closing, it seemed moot to post about it back then, but as the reopening nears and the exhibit is still on display, I thought I’d share some pics — and the recommendation to go see it.

Mother-Load by Timothy Horn

Part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Renwick showcases contemporary American craft, often through exhibitions that feature stunning, large-scale installations that are always very popular.  Just about everyone in DC (and visiting DC) saw the fantastic Wonder, and No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man was a glorious mix of beautiful and kooky.

Arboria by Deborah Moore features gorgeous glass flowers

Forces of Nature is reminiscent of both, with striking and intricate works that take up entire galleries and make you want to examine them from all angles.  Even little ones will dig seeing the big pieces that sparkle, look like giant flowers, resemble a rain storm, and sometimes make you feel like you’re within the art.

Ai no Keshiki – Indigo Views by Rowland Ricketts

Timed-entry passes will be required to visit the Renwick, and they are available now.  However, they are already reserved through May and many dates in June — plus, Forces of Nature is only there through August 15 — so I suggest snagging them now to plan for a summer visit!

Renwick Gallery
Where: 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW | WDC
When: Starting May 14, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid policies

The ethereal Renwick 1.8, originally part of Wonder, is on view, too

 

 

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Filed under 2020, 2021, All ages, DC, Museums, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Take Your T(w)eens — or Enjoy a KidFree Visit — to Glenstone

 

You have to be on the ball to score tickets to Glenstone, the modern art museum sprawling gloriously over 300 acres in Potomac, MD.  Even pre-Covid, passes were hard to get.  They are released on the first of every month for timed-entry admission for the following two months.  So, tickets that are released tomorrow, April 1, will be for  visits in May and June.   This takes some patience and planning, but I promise it’s worth it.

Glenstone is more than just a museum; it’s a whole experience. One that transports you to what feels like a destination far, far away from the city.  Both indoor galleries (that should start to reopen April 8) and expansive grounds showcase a remarkable collection and traveling exhibits that are interesting, evocative, and beautiful.  Design and architectural features are practically works of art themselves, and you will likely find yourself studying lines of the buildings and the pool of aquatic plants in the courtyard as much as the paintings and sculptures.

 

Exploring all of it on foot in the galleries and along paved paths spanning through open grassy areas, trails winding through woods, and boardwalks that zigzag over thick brush (or straw during cold months) add some recreation to the outing.  It’s like an art-filled hike or an active art adventure.  There’s also a cafe to make it a lunch date or to enjoy a snack in a very scenic setting.

Pick up a paper map on your way in or scan a QR code for one.  You definitely want to know where you’re going as some of the outdoor installations are a bit hidden, and you don’t want to miss them.  Inside, the galleries are numbered, so make sure you count them all off, too.  There’s at least one that is easy to miss, and we had to search a bit to find it (though that also added some extra fun).

With its 12-and-older age policy for visitors, Glenstone is automatically a spot for the T(w)een Scene.  And while this may be a bummer to parents with younger kids,  I get why they do it.  It’s not just that the art might be considered sophisticated for little ones.  (In the “eye of the beholder” vein, I think all art could be enjoyed and  appreciated on some level by every age.)  Part of the Glenstone experience is the peaceful, “contemplative environment,” as they call it.  I could see it being tough to keep kiddos from wanting to bolt through wide open spaces outside and use inside voices in the echoing galleries.  I’ve been a few times sans kids, with friends, and on my own — a different season each visit — and I highly recommend it for a grown-up outing, whether a day date, a visit with friends, or solo.

That said, both of my kids are finally old enough to go, and I’m looking forward to bringing them.  I had tickets for all us to visit when they had a day off from school recently, but a crazy downpour that day thwarted those plans.  Thus, I’ll be online tomorrow trying to score those elusive tickets again.

 

Glenstone is located at 12100 Glen Road in Potomac, MD.  It’s currently open Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.  You must have a ticket to visit.  As mentioned, free tickets are released the first day every month at 10am for the following two months. Photography is not permitted indoors, hence all the outdoor images here.

 

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Filed under Art, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Local Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day that Kids (& You) Will Love

DIY Valentines from a past Postal Museum workshop

 

Do you ❤️ celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little (and big) sweeties? If you’re looking for ways to celebrate (and prep for) the day, here are some ideas — both virtual and IRL — with something for everyone to love. Happy V-Day!

Spreading Kindness: Virtual Valentine Greetings
Where: At home
When: Through February 14
Admission: Your time and card making/baking efforts

Celebrate the Valentine’s Day by giving back with Eliana’s Light. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to create cards, poems, and paintings for children who have to be in a DC, MD, or VA pediatric hospital over the holiday. Pre-pandemic, these pieces of art would be delivered to their recipients, but this year volunteers should email them instead, and they will be shared through social media and email to give a boost to those who have been going through a lot over the past year due to the effects of COVID-19. This small act of kindness can have a big impact. More details about the program are here.

Virtual Workshop: Valentine Card Making
Where: The Paper Source | Online
When: February 10, 8-9:30pm
Admission: $30

Feel the love with some Valentine fun at Paper Source’s annual workshop. Perfect for virtual a hang out with friends or some cozy solo crafting time. Make one-of-a-kind cards that you can gift to your bestie, significant other, or family on Valentine’s Day. Recommended for ages 14+. You will need to pick up recommended supplies.

Valentine Cupcakes
Where: Sprinkles | Georgetown, DC
When: Order by February 9
Cost: Depends on your order

Sprinkle love to people you adore with Sprinkles Cupcakes seasonal boxes. They have special mixes, or you can customize your own. Orders must be places by February 9, and delivery or pick-up must be scheduled by February 14.

V’Day Sweet Shop
Where: Milk Bar | Logan Circle, DC
When: Through February 14
Cost: Depends on order

Milk Bar, the bakery that makes my favorite Birthday Cake, has special products for the holiday. Mini cakes, soft serve ice cream, and truffles are perfect desserts for an at-home date night or family celebration. Available for pick-up or delivery.

Make-Your-Own Sweet Treats
Where: Take home from Ice Cream Jubilee | DC & VA
When: Pre-order for pick up or local delivery Feb 11-14
Cost: $18

Craft some sweeties with your sweetie! Ice Cream Jubilee is offering a make-at-home ice cream cookie kit especially for the holiday. It comes with sugar cookie dough, a heart cookie cutter, dark chocolate, Valentine’s sprinkles, and a pint of Bold Vanilla. Makes around 4 mini-sandwiches.

Naked at the Museum Virtual Scavenger Hunt (for adults)
Where: Watson Adventures | Onlines
When: February 12, 13, & 14
Admission: $19

Watson Adventures’ wildly popular Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt is going virtual for the first time ever! Explore museums all over the country on a fun, flirty quest for beautiful and bizarre nudity in art. You might bump into a bronzed Adonis, encounter an incontinent Cupid, serenade moonlit sirens, walk in on handsy Egyptians, marvel at medieval codpieces, run across randy revelers, and see much more. Note: Participants must be clothed.

Virtual Nature Valentines
Where: Meadowside Nature Center | Online
When: February 13, 1-2pm
Admission:Free

Consider collecting outdoor items to create your very own nature valentine. Before the program, go on a walk and collect nuts, sticks, and other natural items. During the program, participants will share why they collected items and assemble valentines. A suggested list of supplies will be emailed before the program to help prepare. An adult may need to assist the participant. This program will take place using Microsoft Teams. Recommended for ages 5+.

Hike & Seek: I [HEART] Nature
Where: Locust Grive Nature Center | Rockville, MD
When: February 14, 2-5pm
Admission: $2/person

Looking for a little adventure? Work together with (or challenge!) your Valentines to nature trivia in a heart-themed scavenger hunt — it’s this month’s nature-themed Hike & Seek series puzzle. Register by Friday, February 12, to schedule a time slot and to receive a prize for completing the hunt. No drop-ins on the day of the program. Note that natural surface trails are not stroller accessible. See more about the program here.

Sweetheart Stroll
Where: MLKing Jr. Recreational Park | Silver Spring, MD
When: February 14
Admission: Free

Looking for a heart-healthy and fun activity for Valentine’s Day? Sign up for the Sweetheart Stroll at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park on February 14th. Starting at 2pm, guests can walk or run along the 0.8-mile HeartSmart Trail. Be entertained and enchanted by multiple photo stations, string lights, and LOVE-ly decorations along the way. Watch for heartwarming messages along the path and a sparkling butterfly garden, too! Registration is required — see available time slots here.

Courtship in the Animal World Campfire
Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park | Chantilly, VA
When: February 14, 6pm
Admission: $8

What does it take to attract a mate in the animal world? Turtles, frogs, insects, birds and even fish all have unique techniques for finding that special someone. Learn about these techniques and enjoy a short hike before sitting around a campfire to roast marshmallows. Register in advance. Recommended for ages 4+.

Virtual Cake Pop Class
Where: Baked by Yael | Online
When: February 14, 4:30pm
Admission $39.95

Have your cake and eat it, too, at a virtual Baked by Yael cakepop class! They’ll teach you how to crumble the cake, mix it with frosting, and then roll, dip, and decorate your cakepops. The exact number of cakepops will vary depending on what size you choose to make your cakeballs. Some people end up with 12+ cakepops! The registration fee includes materials for one participant, a Home Cakepop Kit with baked cake, frosting, candy melts, edible glitter/sprinkles, cakepop sticks, and cakepop drying stand. (Please note that the gluten-free & vegan cakepops do not use frosting.). For just $25 more, we’ll include enough cake, frosting, candy melts, and cakepop sticks for an additional participant! See the website for more details.

DIY Valentines
Where: At Home
When: Whenever you have time
Admission: Just the cost of supplies

So, this is just my suggestion. One of my favorite annual programs is the National Postal Museum’s Valentine’s Day Card Workshop, and we tried to go every year. The museum would provide all kinds of supplies — pretty papers, stamps, washi tape, stickers, markers, and more — for guests to create Valentines. Everyone from families with young children to teens hanging out together to groups of adults attend, and there’s always a great sense of community. We’ll miss it this year, but we can still keep the make-your-own tradition going. So, grab some arty supplies and get creative at home. And make your loved ones’ (or a stranger’s — see the top listing) Valentine’s Day! And for more about the wonderful yet often overlooked Postal Museum (for when it’s open again), see this KFDC post.

The Valentine Dine
Where: Restaurants in Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: February 12-14
Admission: $20-60

Love the one your with this Valentine’s Day Weekend and enjoy favorite Capitol Riverfront restaurants while you’re at it. Whether you’re planning to spend the day with your sweetheart, friends, or family, they’ve curated a list of the sweetest dining deals sure to send Cupid’s arrow through your heart. Choose from a romantic dinner-for-two options at Bammy’s, Maxwell Park, or Osteria Morini; daytime dining choices at Jackie, La Famosa, Scarlet Oak, or Slipstream; and the ultimate indulgence from Coldstone Creamery, Ice Cream Jubilee, and Jeni’s. The best part? ALL gift card options come with awesome discounts, plus complimentary desserts or drinks included with several deals. Order in advance!

Valentine’s Day Specials
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Through February 14
Admission: The cost of your meal
Many of the restaurants at The Wharf have special meals and deals for Valentine’s Day, both dine in and take out are available, depending on the place. Visit the websites of Colada Shop, Del Mar, District Doughnut, Hank’s Oyster Bar, La Vie, Mi Vida, Moon Rabbit, and The Grill for specifics and note that some need to be pre-ordered.  Also, Shop Made in DC and Diament Jewelry  have great last minute Valentine’s Day gifts including jewelry, travel sets, candles, and more.

Socially Distanced Date Nights for Everyone
Where: Restaurants in Adams Morgan, DC
When: February & March
Admission: Varies by place and activity

Adams Morgan is a great place for a date in DC, whether you’re a mom and daughter out for ice cream, a first date, or a married couple celebrating a double-digit anniversary. The Adams Morgan Partnership presents DATE NIGHTS with all kinds of specials, promotions and date lineups throughout the neighborhood during February and March 2021. Visit the website for a chart full of suggestions.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Annual, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Volunteer, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Celebrate Black History, Online and Around DC Through February — and Beyond

 

February is Black History Month, and if you’re looking for ways to celebrate it with kids, you have plenty of options, both virtually and in person around the DC area.  Museum programs, guided and self-guided tours, visits to significant sites, story time sessions, online concerts, and more will be enlightening and entertaining for all ages. And while some of these are happening on specific dates this month, many of them are ongoing for year-round enjoyment and education.  For even more good reads and related content, check out the Black Lives Matter page.

African American History and Culture
Where: NMAAHC | Online
When: Through February
Admission: Free

The National Museum of African American History & Culture may just be the best place to learn about Black history and culture in America. And while the actual place is closed right now, there still are lots of digital resources available through the website that let you explore it all, including online exhibits, programming for children and adults, and a whole section on talking about race.

The Underground Railroad Experience Trail
Where: Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

Take a hike that provides insight into the experience of enslaved peoples’ escape to freedom. This walk through woods and along edges of fields (with a map and explanation of the hike) is interesting and enlightening as well as an active, socially distanced way to spend time outdoors.

Visit BLM Plaza
Where: 16th Street NW | Downtown DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

The two blocks along 16th Street NW, between K Street and Lafayette Park just across from the White House, was emboldened with the giant yellow BLACK LIVES MATTER statement this past summer as the BLM movement began to swell after the murder of George Floyd. The now pedestrian area became a meeting place and focal point of protests and other events — and a site of historic significance in DC. The protest signs that covered the fence around the park have been removed, but the location still provides good context for a conversation with kids about BLM.

Tour Memorials
Where: Several locations in DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

Tour some memorials around the city that highlight notable African Americans and related historic events. Head to the MLK Memorial at the Tidal Basin, where you can view the grand sculpture of Dr. King and read some of his most inspiring quote engraved in surrounding walls. From there, head to the Lincoln Memorial, where even more MLK words, “I Have a Dream” are etched into the steps where he gave his famous speech. In the Shaw neighborhood, the African American Civil War Memorial honors the service and sacrifice of soldiers and sailors who served in the U.S. Army and Navy.  On Capitol Hill, the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial in Lincoln Park isa tribute to the civil rights leader.

Discover Women’s Landmarks
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

The Wander Women Project, a has gathered all the places honoring pioneer black women in the DMV area (and slightly further). Since many indoor museums are closed due to Covid-19, mostly outdoor sites and online resources are listed, making outings to visit to them perfect for social distancing.

Black History in Alexandria
Where: Throughout Alexandria, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity
A new blog post from Visit Alexandria discusses their renewed commitment to racial equity that pre-dated the surge in the Black Lives Matter movement. There are new major projects and programs that highlight Black history experiences throughout the city, including the Duke Street Black History Trail, Courageous Journey: Alexandria’s Black History Driving Tour, a waterfront African American Heritage Trail and an Underground Railroad-themed tour from Manumission Tour Company.

Black History in MoCo Parks
Where: Parks around Montgomery County, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies

Several sites within the Montgomery Parks system have connections to Black history. See Civil War ruins, visit a place named for the man who inspired Uncle Tom’s Cabin, explore the site of a 19th century African American roadside community, and more. Get more details here.

Black History with PG Parks
Where: Parks around PG County, MD
When: Through February
Admission:

Celebrate and honor African American heritage with the PG County park system during Black History Month in February. From performances to history lessons to tours, there are a lot of exciting events and activities planned throughout Prince George’s County, both virtual and in person.

The Slave Memorial & Exhibits
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: $20/adult, $12/ages 6-11, free/5 & under

Make a point to see these on a visit to George Washington’s estate in Northern Virginia. The memorial is located approximately 50 yards southwest of George and Martha Washington’s tomb, on a bluff above the Potomac River. A gray, truncated, granite column which represents “life unfinished” is the center of three concentric brick circles. The three steps leading up to the column are inscribed, respectively, “Faith,” “Hope” and “Love” — the virtues that sustained those living in bondage. The exhibit Lives Bound Together explores the personal stories of the people enslaved at Mount Vernon while providing insight into George Washington’s evolving opposition to slavery.

Introducing…
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Online
When: February 3, 10, 17, and 24
Admission:

The National Portrait Gallery’s program for children ages 3+ shines a light on Black historymakers and their portraits this month. Kids will learn more about art, hear the stories behind the portraits, and even hear some new vocabulary.

Royal Fun with Culture Queen
Where: Online
When: February 6, 2-2:30pm & February 21, 1:30-2pm
Admission: Free

Culture Queen, the children’s author, entertainer, and educator known for presenting empowering entertainment — music, movement, and storytelling — for kids, has a couple of online events this month. Join for Black History Live on February 6 and for a Virtual Dance Party on February 21.

Library Programs
Where: DC Public Library | Online
When: Throughout February
Admission: Free

The DC Public Library proudly celebrates Black History Month during February with all kinds of online programs — story times, book discussions, crafts, and more. Visit the website to see when they are taking place.

Let It Shine
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: February 6 & 13
Admission: $17.95

At the wonderful children’s museum in Baltimore, celebrate Black History Month by reading festive stories inside The Oasis at the Reading Corner. Of course, plan to enjoy the multiple levels of fun and educational exhibits while you’re there.

Black History Month at the Tiny Desk
Where: NPR Music | Online
When: Through February
Admission: Free

NPR Music’s awesome Tiny Desk Concert series is celebrating Black History Month by featuring 13 Tiny Desk (home) concerts by Black artists across genres and highlighting performances by Black artists from the archives with weekly curated playlists. The celebration will spotlight different genres and generations each week.

 

*Do you know of a Black History Month event or activity that you don’t see listed here?  Feel free to share in the comments!

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Annual, Black Lives Matter, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Ongoing, Outdoor, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter