If there’s one thing I was excited for in Washington D.C., it’s the plethora of museums. Knowing there would be plenty of museums and organizations throughout the city that my Southern Utah University Arts Administration classmates and I could enjoy gave as all excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, I realized I would only be able to see a few museums this visit instead of every single one on my list. My admiration for cultural preservation and passion for art steered me in the direction of a few notable places that piqued my interest. If you love art and culture as much as I do, take a look at the visits that have become some of my favorite places.
National Gallery of Art
My first stop found me with my classmates at the National Gallery of Art. Walking through each art section, it was clear there was something for every art lover. My classmate Katie enjoyed the exhibit of early photography while I strolled through the sculpture sections multiple times to spend time with Degas, Rodin, and more. My classmate Michael eagerly showed me paintings that exemplified the characteristics of the first signs of American art that differentiated from European art. Whether we had worked in photography, knew the work behind sculpting and carving, or the history of visual art, we all had something to enjoy and explore at this comprehensive gallery.
National Museum of the American Indian
Traveling through the exhibits of the National Museum of the American Indian solo, I was eager to find something new at every corner. I found myself traveling my way through my own spiritual journey as I learned about the belief and practice of every Native American tribe. The exhibit of Peru along the Inca Trail took me back to my days in Peru with Run by Rural. A rope bridge that was displayed during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival reminded me of my trek through Machu Picchu as I thought of the bridge holding onto edges of the rock and mountains. From artifacts of beaded footwear to boats from indigenous people of America, this museum had just about everything for me to explore the story of the United States’ past.
Folger Shakespeare Library
Assisting the Utah Shakespeare Festival had me the most eager to pay a visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library that contains one of the first folios and numerous texts on display from Shakespeare’s time period. Walking through the hallway of texts, I found the architecture was just as impressive. Although there were no shows for me and my classmates at the time, we paid a visit to the theatre, eager to enjoy its ambiance even without a show in performance. Perhaps this has to do with us being arts supporters or being intrigued by its aesthetics. Either way, we were happy to explore every inch of the library and enjoy the intrigue of Shakespeare.
Washington D.C. has many more museums I visited beyond these, and plenty I missed including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but these were a few that should be on any art and culture enthusiast’s list. Whether you love visual art, history and heritage, or theatre, Washington D.C. has plenty to offer. As my classmates and I found, Washington D.C. will not disappoint anyone who has a passion for the arts.
Hours and Locations
National Gallery of Art: Open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.
National Museum of the American Indian: Open 10am-5:30pm.
Folger Shakespeare Library: 201 E. Capitol Street, SE; Open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday Noon-5pm.