Washington Travel Guide


Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-4880; www.asia.si.edu

“Faith and Form: Selected Calligraphy and Painting From Japanese Religious Traditions” closes July 18. Some of the illuminated texts, portraits, and mandala paintings on display belong to the Freer. Others are from the private collection owned by Sylvan Barnet and William Burto.

“Return of the Buddha: The Qingzhou Discoveries,” beautiful and well-preserved sixth-century sculptures, closes August 8.

At the Sackler, a sixth-century Chinese Buddha.
Buddha photo courtesy of the Sackler

“Caliphs and Kings: The Art and Influence of Islamic Spain” opens May 8 and closes October 17. A history lesson of sorts is implicit in the silks, ceramics, and illuminated Bibles dating from the 8th to the 16th century that will be shown. The textiles, ceramics, maps, manuscripts and marquetry are examples of the interchange of ideas among Muslim artists, Jewish scribes, and their patrons in medieval Spain.

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore; 410-396-7100; www.artbma.org

Same-day tickets ($12 for adults; $10 for seniors and students; $6 for ages 6 to 18; children under 6 free; includes museum admission) are available at the museum, without a service charge. Ticketmaster, at 202-432-7328 or online at www.ticketmaster.com, sells advance timed tickets; there is a service charge of $2.75 a ticket and a $2 handling fee per order.

“Picasso: Surrealism and the War Years,” a show of 20 prints and paintings from the 1920s and 1930s containing psychological and autobiographical elements, runs through August 29. Highlights include “Minotauramachy” and prints referencing “Guernica,” Picasso’s mural decrying fascism and war.

City Museum of Washington, DC
Mount Vernon Square, 801 K St., NW; 202-383-1800; www.citymuseumdc.org

Since opening in May, the City Museum keeps adding to its collections. In addition to its room-size lighted floor map and its dioramas of local history, the museum is now showing an exhibit about its neighbor to the east, “Chinatown: Place and People.” Chinese Immigrants first lived and worked on Pennsylvania Avenue about 120 years ago. The move to today’s Chinatown happened in the 1930s.

Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 17th St., NW; 202-639-1700; corcoran.org

Folger Shakespeare Library
201 E. Capitol St., SE; 202-544-4600; www.folger.edu

Freer Gallery of Art
Twelfth St. and Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-4880; www.asia.si.edu

Tickets are $20. Call 202-357-3030 or visit smithsonianassociates.org for more.

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Seventh St. and Independence Ave., SW; 202-357-2700; www.hirshhorn.si.edu

Koshland Science Museum
Sixth and E sts., NW; 202-334-1201; koshland-science-museum.org
Named for the late Marian Koshland, who devoted much of her life to the teaching of science, Washington’s newest museum, part of the National Academy of Sciences, makes such subjects as DNA, global warming, and state-of-the-art research accessible to the lay student. It is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 to 6. Admission is $5; $3 for seniors, students, and those with military ID.

Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First St., SE; 202-707-4604; www.loc.gov/exhibits

National Academies Keck Center
500 Fifth St., NW; 202-334-2436; www.nationalacademies.org/arts

National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Ave., NW (entrance at 2100 C St.); 202-334-2436; nationalacademies.org/arts

National Air and Space Museum
Sixth St. and Independence Ave., SW; 202-357-2700; www.nasm.si.edu

Kids five and up, adults too, will find two very interesting programs in the Einstein Planetarium. “The Stars Tonight” involves a museum staffer explaining what is to be seen through the planetarium’s projector. And in “Infinity Express,” visitors are transported via digital technology to the edge of the universe.

National Building Museum
401 F St., NW; 202-272-2448; nbm.org

The architects whose work is represented here include Louis I. Kahn, Rem Koolhaas, Mies van der Rohe, Otto Wagner, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Drawings by more than 60 architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, who have influenced modern design are at the National Building Museum.

National Gallery of Art, East Building
Fourth St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-737-4215; www.nga.gov

At the National Gallery, Joseph Decker’s “Still Life With Crab Apples and Grapes” is in the Wilmerding collection.

In the reception room on the ground floor, an exhibit commemorates the 25th anniversary of the East Building. Included are a 1968 sketch by architect I.M. Pei, a three-dimensional model, photographs, and many archival materials. We who live here tend to forget that the American Institute of Architects considers Pei’s masterpiece one of the top ten buildings in the United States.
In 1968, architect I.M. Pei made this doodle of what was to become the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.

National Gallery of Art, West Building
Sixth St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-737-4215; www.nga.gov

“The Director’s Tour: Masterpieces at the National Gallery,” an audio tour narrated by museum director Earl A. Powell III and gallery curators, examines more than 130 of the gallery’s greatest paintings. It’s a wonderful way to tour the permanent collection, revisiting old favorites and learning about new ones. The cassettes are available for rent ($6 for adults, $5 for seniors) at the West Building’s Mall entrance.

National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall
17th and M sts., NW; 202-857-7588; www.nationalgeographic.com/museum

National Museum of American History
14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-357-2700; smithsonian.org

On the third floor, two exhibits of photographs bring back the 1960s’ yeah, yeah, yeah: “The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes” and “MMLL: Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life,” featuring work by a brother of Paul McCartney, close July 5. Quaint memorabilia for Fab Four fans.

National Museum of Natural History

Tenth St. and Constitution Ave., NW; 202-357-2700; www.mnhsi.edu

“The Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals,” is a permanent exhibit made possible by a $20-million donation from the eponymous developer, big-game hunter, and philanthropist. The hall, measuring 25,000 square feet and featuring plenty of kid-friendly, interactive exhibits, has 274 lifelike (though taxidermied) mammals in realistic settings.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave., NW; 202-783-5000; nmwa.org

National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Ave., NE; 202-633-5555; www.postalmuseum.si.edu

Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery
17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-633-1000; americanart.si.edu

“Treasures From the Smithsonian American Art Museum” are staying at the Renwick until the renovations at the American Art Museum are completed in 2006. Paintings, hung cheek-by-jowl, all the way to the ceiling, include works by Childe Hassam, Winslow Washingtonr, John Singer Sargent, and Thomas Moran.

Textile Museum
2320 S St., NW; 202-667-0441; www.textilemuseum.org



Washington gardens are at their best this time of the year, and nowhere are they better than at Dumbarton Oaks, Hillwood, the Hirshhorn, and the National Gallery of Art. Here is when the gardens are open:

Dumbarton Oaks’ gardens (1703 32nd St., NW; the entrance to the gardens is on R St. at 31st St.; 202-339-6400) are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 2 to 6. Admission is $6; $4 for children and seniors. There’s a hotline, 202-339-6401, with a recording about what’s in bloom.

Hillwood, the stately Washington of Marjorie Merriweather Post (4155 Linnean Ave., NW; 202-686-8500) has a beautiful garden with a splendid array of azaleas. Admission ranges from $5 to $12; reservations are needed and can be made by calling 202-686-5807.

The Hirshhorn (Independence Ave. and Seventh St., SW, with entrances on Jefferson Dr. and the Mall; 202-633-4674) has more sculpture than plants and flowers but is one of the nicest gardens around. It is open daily from 7:30 AM to dusk. Monday through Saturday at 12:15 there are free guided tours.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (Constitution Ave. and Ninth St., NW; 202-737-4215) is best entered on Seventh Street. The flora and fauna are well labeled, and so is the sculpture. The hours in May are 10 to 4:30 Monday through Saturday and 11 to 5:30 Sunday; from Memorial Day through Labor Day, they will be 10 to 7 Monday through Thursday and Saturday; 11 to 7 Sunday; and 10 to 9 Friday as local jazz musicians jam from 5 to 8.


May 27 through September 6, the National Museum of American History will be open from 10 to 6:30 daily. From May 23 to September 1, the National Museum of Natural History will be open from 10 to 7:30 daily. Other Smithsonian museums will not be extending their hours (10 to 5:30).

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