Tag Archives: Smithsonian Museums

One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection

 

We have been anticipating One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection for a long time.  The exhibit was originally scheduled to open in spring of 2020, but, well, we all know what happened. It’s finally opening tomorrow, April 1, and the wait for it, especially after all that we and the world have gone through, makes it even more exciting, more vivid, and more meaningful now.

The exhibit is smaller than Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors, which was an absolute sensation. This time there are just five major pieces, all of them part of the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection.   Two infinity rooms (including one from the last exhibition) and the yellow and black polka dot Pumpkin are sure to be the most popular (ie, Instagrammed).  Infinity Mirrored Room–My Heart is Dancing into the Universe is  my favorite, a colorful, trippy walk-through that immerses you in glowing orbs and polka dots.

 

Other elements of the exhibit are also really interesting. Don’t miss the timeline of Kusama’s life and work — it’s fascinating.  You can learn that she sewed parachutes in a military factory during World War II, how she wrote a letter to Georgia O’Keefe seeking advice on being an artist in the US (and got a response), that dots have been part of her work for a long time, she has written novels, and many more interesting details of her personal and artistic history.

While the last Kusama exhibit at the Hirshhorn was here  for less than three months, this one will run for eight months, until the end of November.  With more time for a chance to see it, this hopefully will make it easier to obtain passes.  And I highly recommend going. It really will make your heart dance.

How to see One with Eternity
The Hirshhorn will distribute free same-day Timed Passes daily, Thursday – Sunday, at the Museum starting at 9:30am throughout the run of the upcoming exhibition. All visitors age 12 and up must have a pass. Children ages 12 and under do not need a passif they are accompanied by an adult passholder. Each adult passholder may bring up to two children into the exhibition and each Infinity Mirror Room.

You can also become a Hirshhorn Insiders member and reserve an available date in advance to experience the exhibit. Hirshhorn Insider memberships start at $100.

Tips & More Info
My guess is that, in the first few weeks, people will start lining up early each day to get free passes, well before the 9:30am distribution start time.  If you’re very eager to see the exhibit, line up early to ensure you get passes.
* Keep in mind that you may get passes timed for later in the day, so have a plan for other things to do until it’s your time to go.  This shouldn’t be too hard considering all of the other nearby museums.
* There may be lines and waits to enter the Infinity Rooms, so be prepared for that, especially if you’re with young kids. Perhaps bring along something to keep them occupied in case you have to wait.
* Strollers are allowed in the exhibition galleries but not inside either of the Infinity Mirror Rooms.

 

One with Enternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: April 1 – November 27
Admission: Free

 

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Filed under 2022, All ages, DC, Museums, Spring

Scenes from a Pop-In at the National Postal Museum

 

The National Postal Museum just reopened in late August for the first time since March 2020, the last of the DC Smithsonians to once again welcome visitors.  I was running an errand nearby yesterday, so I decided to pop in for a little museum fix and see what is/isn’t currently on view, and to enjoy what I think is one of the most stunning spaces in the city.

The museum is in the Postal Square Building, which was DC’s main post office from 1914 to 1986

I’ve always recommended the museum as a particularly great one to visit with young children.  Located in the Postal Square Building between Union Station and North Capitol Street, it doesn’t draw the big crowds that its Smithsonian counterparts on the Mall often do, which is especially nice right now.  And the space isn’t huge, making it easy to explore with little ones.   That said, it’s appealing to all ages and fantastic to visit without kids, too, like I just did…

Mailboxes from around the world

 

Since there’s already a whole KFDC write-up about the museum,  this post of scenes is really just a reminder that it’s open again and a strong recommendation to go, plus a quick update of what’s on display and some highlights. The Pony Express area is closed, but most other exhibits are currently open.  You can digitally design a stamp and start a collection in the Stamp Gallery,  learn how the post office serves cities and  scan and sort mail, read letters sent to and from soldiers in WWI, and go Behind the Badge to explore the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  And the lofty atrium featuring airmail planes, mail trucks, a train car, a horse & buggy, the trailer of a semi that you can climb aboard, and other large-scale modes of mail transport is as stunning as ever.

The National Postal Museum
Where: 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Union Station Area, DC
When: Friday – Tuesday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free
COVID Guidelines

 

Click for larger images…

The first glimpse of the atrium

 

The Stamp Gallery is located on the Main Floor of the building

 

Stamps available to start collection

 

Design your own digital stamp

 

Learn about the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

 

An old Ford Model A mail truck

 

A modern one

 

And a trailer of a semi mail carrier that you can sit in

 

View from the inside

 

A digital image and transcription of a moving letter from WWI

 

Scanning (pretend) mail is one of many hands-on ops

 

Wes Anderson vibes?

 

A last look at the space

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Museums, Reopened, Weekdays, Weekend

Inside Info: Indoor Places Open During COVID

Social distancing indoors at the National Gallery of Art

 

 
 

 

More and more indoor places around the DC area are figuring out how to safely open their doors to visitors again. I’ve been to a couple of Smithsonian museums and felt very comfortable and safe with the extra measures taken for COVID — and was very happy to wander the galleries and enjoy art in person once again.  As weather gets colder and our itch for outings that aren’t outdoors grows, having some go-to indoor spots will be appreciated by many.  (But, of course, everyone should do what they’re comfortable with during this unusual and uncertain time!)  Here’s a handy list of them, and I’ll continually add to it as more places reopen.  Happy revisiting! 

 

DC

National Gallery of Art
When: Daily, 11am – 4pm
Where: 6th Street & Constitution Ave NW | National Mall
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Museum of African American History and Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 1400 Constitution Ave NW | National Mall
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
COVID policies

National Museum of Natural History
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 8th & G Streets NW | Penn Quarter
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Air & Space Museum
When: Closed for renovations until October 2022
Where: 655 Jefferson Drive, SW | National Mall, DC
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum 
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 11:30am – 7pm
Where: 8th & G Streets NW | Penn Quarter
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Postal Museum
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE | Union Station Area, DC
Admission: Free
COVID policies

Hirshhorn Museum
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 7th St. & Independence Ave. SW | National Mall, DC
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

Renwick Gallery 
When: Temporarily Closed
Where: Pennsylvania Ave at 17th Street NW | Downtown DC
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Museum of American History 
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 1300 Constitution Avenue NW | National Mall
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Museum of the American Indian 
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW | National Mall
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Museum of African Art
When: Daily (except Tuesday), 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 950 Independence Avenue, SW
Admission: Free, no passes required
Covid policies

National Museum of Asian Art (Freer | Sackler)
When: Daily (except Tuesday), 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 900 Independence Ave, SW | National Mall, DC
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

Arts & Industries Building
When: Daily (except Tuesday), 10am – 5:30pm & Fri/Sat, 10am – 7pm
Where: 900 Jefferson Drive SW | National Mall, DC
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

Anacostia Community Museum
When: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Where: 1901 Fort Place SE | Anacostia, DC
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

National Children’s Museum
When: Thursday – Sunday, 9:30am – 12:30pm & 1:30-4:30pm
Where: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW | Downtown DC
Admission: $15.95/ages 1+ for two-hour timed session
COVID policies

International Spy Museum 
When: Daily, 9am – 7pm
Where: 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW | Southwest DC
Admission: $24.95/ adult, $16.95/age 7-12, free/6 & under | purchase online
COVID policies

Washington Monument
When: Starting July 14, 9am – 5pm daily
Where: 2 15th Street, NW
Admission: Free with timed-entry tickets (small online service fee)
Covid policies

ARTECHOUSE
When: Monday – Thursday, 12-8pm & Friday – Sunday, 10am – 10pm
Where: 1238 Maryland Ave SW | Southwest DC
Admission: $24/adult, $20/senior & first responder, $17/age 4-14, free/under 4 (purchase online for $5 off)
COVID policies

National Museum of Women in the Arts 
When: Monday – Saturday, 10am -5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
Closed for renovations
Where: 1250 New York Ave NW | Downtown DC
Admission: $10/adult, free/child – timed entry tickets required
COVID policies

Kennedy Center Grand Foyer and The REACH 
When: Fri 4-8pm, Sat 12-6pm, Sun 12-6pm
Where: 2700 F Street NW | Foggy Bottom
Admission: Free and passes are not required for this short walk-thru
COVID policies

Mansion on O Street 
When: Daily, 11am – 3pm
Where: 2020 O Street NW | Dupont Circle
Admission: Tours start at $25 — online reservations required
COVID policies

Ford’s Theatre
When: Wednesday – Monday, 9am – 5pm
Where: 511 10th Street NW | Penn Quarter
Admission: $3 – reserve timed tickets online here
COVID policies

Phillips Collection (See more about the museum)
When: Thursday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm
Where: 1600 21st Street NW | Dupont Circle
Admission: $16/adult, free for kids – reserve in advance
COVID policies

Planet Word
When: Thursday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 925 13th Street NW | Downtown DC
Admission: Free timed entry passes required
COVID policies

National Building Museum
Where: 401 F Street NW | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Friday – Monday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $10/adult, $7/child (free for members)
COVID policies
[Note: It’s free to hang out in the Great Hall, most exhibits require admission.]

Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building
When: Thursday – Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Where: First Street SE, btwn Indie Ave & East Capitol St.
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid policies

National Museum of Asian Art/Freer Gallery
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Where: Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Admission: Free, no passes required
Covid policies

The Lane Social Club
When: Reservations for Open Play
Where: 1408 Okie Street NE
Admission: $15
COVID policies

Kreeger Museum 
When: Tues – Sat, 10-10:50am/11-11:50am/2-2:50pm/3-3:50pm
When: 2401 Foxhall Road | Foxhall-Palisades, DC
Admission: $10 suggested donation for adults
Covid Policies

Tudor Place 
Where: 1644 31st Street NW | Georgetown, DC
When:  Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes (donations accepted)
Covid policies

Dumbarton House
Where: 2715 Q Street NW | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday – Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $10/adult, free for children
Covid policies
[Note: The wonderful Dumbarton Oaks Garden is also open. Timed-entry passes required.]

Museum of the Bible
When: Thursday – Monday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 400 4th Street SW
Admission: $20-25/adult, 10-15/age 7-17, free/6 & under
COVID policies

 

MARYLAND

Maryland Science Center
When: Friday, 10am – 4pm | Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 601 Light Street | Baltimore
Admission: $25.95/adult, $19.95/age 3-13
COVID policies

Port Discovery
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 35 Market Place | Baltimore
Admission: $17.95 advance purchase required
COVID policies

B&O Railroad Museum
When: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Where: 901 West Pratt Street | Baltimore
Admission: $20/adult, $17/senior, $12/ages 2-12
COVID policies

National Aquarium
When: Sun-Thurs 9am – 5pm | Fri 9am – 8pm | Sat 9am – 6pm
Where: 501 E Pratt Street | Baltimore
Admission: $39.95/adult, $29.95/age 3-11, free/2 & under
COVID policies

American Visionary Art Museum
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 800 Key Highway | Baltimore
Admission: $15.95/adult, $13.95/senior, $9.95/age 7-17, free/6 & under
COVID policies

Baltimore Museum of Industry
When: Friday – Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Where: 1415 Key Highway | Baltimore
Admission: $12/adult, $7/youth, free/under 6
COVID policies

College Park Aviation Museum
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Where: 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive | College Park
Admission: Reserve in advance | $5/adult, $4/senior, $2/child
COVID policies

Watkins Nature Center
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Where: 301 Watkins Park Drive | Upper Marlboro, MD
Admission: Free, but advance reservations required
Covid policies

Calvert Marine Museum
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Where: 14200 Solomons Island Road | Solomons
Admission: $9/adult, $7/senior, $4/child — reserve two-hour time-slot
COVID policies

Pinstripes – Bistro, Bocce, & Bowling 
When: Mon-Thurs 12-9pm/Fri 12-10pm/Sat 10am-10pm/Sun 10am-9pm
Where: 11920 Grand Park Ave | North Bethesda
Admission: Varies by game, # of people
COVID policies

Glenstone
When: Indoor areas Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 12100 Glen Road | Potomac, MD
Admission: Free with timed-entry tickets
Covid Policies
[Note: There is also an outdoor area that shouldn’t be missed.]

ClimbZone
When: Mon-Wed 12-7pm | Fri 12-8pm | Sat-Sun 11am – 8pm
Where: 13200 MidAtlantic Blvd Suite 130 | Laurel
Admission: $15/age 2-5, $25/age 6+ for 2 hours — reserve online
COVID policies

Zava Zone
When: Thursday – Monday, hour vary by day
Where: 40 Southlawn Court | Rockville
Admission: Starts at $21.50/hour
COVID policies

Baltimore Museum of Art
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 10 Art Museum Drive | Baltimore
Admission: Free with timed entry passes
COVID policies

Walters Art Museum
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Where: 600 N. Charles Street | Baltimore
Admission: Free
COVID policies

 

VIRGINIA

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center 
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Where: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway | Chantilly
Admission: Free, no passes required
COVID policies

Mount Vernon – Museum & Mansion
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway | Mount Vernon
Admission: $20/adult, $12/age 6-16, free/under 6
COVID policies

Super, Awesome, & Amazing at the St. James
When: Monday 10am – 7pm Saturday & Sunday 9am – 7pm
Where: 6805 Industrial Road | Springfield
Admission: $13/hour, $23/2 hours
COVID policies

Zava Zone
When: Thursday – Monday, hour vary by day
Where: 45685 Oakbrook Court Suite 110 | Sterling
Admission: Starts at $12/hour
COVID policies

Flight Trampoline Park
When: Daily, times vary by day
Where: 7200 Fullerton Road | Springfield
Admission: Starts at $14
COVID policies

Buddie Ford Nature Center
When: Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Where: 5750 Sanger Avenue | Alexandria, VA
Admission: Free
COVID policies

National Museum of the Marine Corps
Where: 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway | Triangle, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free
COVID policies

Looking for indoor places that are especially great with little kids?  Check out this KFDC post!

 

 

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Reopened, Social Distancing, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

New on View at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden this Summer

Make a wish at Yoko Ono’s “Wish Tree for Washington”



You can’t really go wrong with an outing to the National Mall. There are always museums to visit, exhibits and memorials to check out, and just so much to see as you wander. Here are a couple of new exhibitions running at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden this summer to keep in mind next time you’re on the Mall. It’s easy to stop by to see them — no tickets required, and admission to both are free!

Ai Weiwei makes a political statement in LEGOS

Opening today, “Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn” is a massive installation spanning 700 feet all the way around the museum’s second floor, featuring portraits of 176 indivisuals from around the world who the artist believes to have been detained, exiled, or have sought political asylum as a result of their actions, beliefs, or affiliations.

Like many of his works, it makes a political statement and is pretty heavy for kids. But also like many of his works, there’s an aesthetic element that will appeal to all ages: It’s made entirely of LEGOS! While you might not make a special trip to see it with children, I recommend stopping by if you’re at the museum or nearby. It could be a conversation starter if you want to discuss those topics with your kids. It’s also a chance for them to see how they can create art with their everyday toys. Apparently, Ai Weiwei chose LEGOS as his medium because his son was playing with them a lot. The exhibit runs through January 1, 2018.

In the Sculpture Garden, be sure to stop by Yoko Ono’s “Wish Tree for Washington,” where visitors are encouraged to write their wishes on tags and tie them to a Japanese dogwood tree. It’s quite a sight to see them all lining the branches — and interesting, moving, even amusing to read some of them. Throughout the summer, Hirshhorn staff collect the wishes and send them to Ono’s “Imagine Peace Tower” in Reykjavik, Iceland. You can add your tags with written wishes through Labor Day, and the rest of the year you can whisper them to the tree.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Museums, Outdoor, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Review: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn

yayoi_window

There is so much hype surrounding Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn. And the big question: “Does the exhibit live up to it?” The answer — my answer, anyway — is that depends on how you look at it. I know… not so helpful, but read on for some insight.

You know how sometimes you want to love something, and you think that under the right circumstances you would be utterly dazzled and blown away, but those circumstances are just completely unattainable? That’s pretty much how I feel about this exhibit.

yayoi_lightsroom

The art itself is absolutely stellar. The whole experience of going to see it, not quite so much. That’s because it was difficult to really experience and enjoy the art, at least in those “right circumstances” I would have preferred. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to feel that way, because this art is so enchanting. You want to immerse in it and hang out for awhile, but there isn’t opportunity to do that.

yayoi_pink_globes

* * * * *

So, let me back up and offer a bit more information about Infinity Mirrors. The main features of the exhibition are five installations — small rooms transformed into boundless wonderlands with Kusama’s brilliant, imaginative sculptures and mirror-lined walls that make the spaces feel like they go on for, well, infinity.

yayoi_pumpkins

It’s so incredible to see you want to stand (and sit and even lie down) there forever and relish in it from every angle. But that feeling ends abruptly when your 30 seconds to see it — which go by so fast — are up, the door opens, and you have to exit.

yayoi_line

Part of what makes that short span of time fly by so fast is the comparison to the wait in line to go in, which was up to about 25 minutes when I visited. Also, you might share some of the spaces with others, making it a little awkward to move around and stand in different spots to absorb it all. I was able to go in two installations on my own, but I’ve heard they are not allowing individual sessions anymore to help the lines move faster.

yayoi_sculptures

There is art on display besides the Infinity Mirror Rooms. Colorful paintings and sculptures, plus small infinity rooms that you peer into through little windows are beautiful and fun to view. At the end is the Obliteration Room, a completely white space — the walls, floor, furniture, decor, everything — where you can stick colorful dots wherever you want. The people watching is an interesting part of the experience, too. Quite a few visitors dress for the exhibits in dots (a common pattern in Kusama’s work), bold colors, and outfits that will convey well on Instagram.

yayoi_redwindow

And that brings up a whole other aspect of this show. Its Instagram-iness seems to be a big part of its appeal, and it looked like many people were there more for a perfect selfie than to enjoy the art itself. On one hand, I think it’s fantastic that people are engaging with the art, and it’s being celebrated and shared. On the other hand, when there are long lines and limited time to enjoy it, I kind of wish that wasn’t adding to the crowds.

yayoi_reddots

Is it worth it to take the kids?
This is what you’re probably now wondering, and here are my thoughts: This is art that definitely will delight kids, even young children. However, there is a good chance lines and wait times will be long. (See this Washington Post article about wait times this past weekend.) You know best what your kids can handle, how patiently they can wait, and how much you think they’ll get out of being there. A couple of things about viewing the art to keep in mind, too: 1) Space is limited in the rooms, and it could be hard keeping little hands off the art 2) Young kiddos might not be happy about having to exit the rooms before they are ready. (I’m an old kiddo and I wasn’t happy!)

yayoi_obliteration

If you do bring the kids…
– Let children know beforehand that there will be waiting and limited time inside the rooms to manage expectations.
– Bring along something to keep them occupied while you wait in lines.
– Try to go with another adult and take turns waiting in line and walking around with your children (this means lucking out and getting multiple tickets, or you can buy the membership – see below).
– Strollers are not permitted in the exhibit, though there is stroller parking outside.
– Have a back-up plan in case you get to the museum and determine the lines are too long for your kids (and you) to wait — you have your pick of other museums on the Mall.

Other general tips & info
Free Timed Passes are available every Monday at 12pm for the following week. They sell out quickly, so be ready to reserve yours online as soon as it turns noon.
– If you have timed passes, all guests with you need them, even infants.
– A limited number of free same-day Walk-Up Timed Passes will be available at the Museum, with a line starting at 9:30am, and the passes distributed first-come, first-served at 10am. You can get real-time updates on availability on Twitter.
– You can purchase a special Kusama Circle Membership for $50, which lets you and a guest bypass the general admission line one time. Children under 18 are not considered guests and get in free with you.
Other membership options are available at higher rates.
– Get tickets for a weekday if you can.
– Try to put your camera away as much as possible. You may spend so much time trying to get the perfect shot that you miss out on enjoying the art. Really, that 30 seconds flies!

yayoi_quote

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors will be on view at the Hirshhorn through May 14. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and word has it they are staying open until 7:30pm to accommodate guests with later passes.


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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Exhibit, Free, Museums, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter