In the midst of farewells, finals, and due dates approaching, I surprisingly found some extra time to visit some of the great museums in DC. Before I get into my observations and experiences I had in these museums, I have to say that Americans perfected the art of making museums fun. As a kid my parents brought me to beautiful museums around the world like the hermitage in Russia or the Louvres in France, but I was 11 and I wanted to go go-karting at that time. Going around the museums in DC, I was surprised at how engaged the kids were. Especially at the air and space museum, the activities made the kids have fun while they were learning and I thought that was great. I definitely think Europe could learn a lot about museums in America because I would have loved these museums as a kid.
So my museum tour of DC consisted (so far) of the Renwick, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Smithsonian Air & Space and Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (I do plan on visiting some more during my free days in DC after my finals).
I’ve been to the Renwick a couple of times to see their new exhibitions and I really liked this museum, it’s not too big and shouldn’t take more than an hour to get through everything. It’s a great place to go to after getting a coffee and walking around the White House.
The Holocaust Memorial museum carried a very gloomy atmosphere and left me quite shocked throughout the rest of the day. This museum is able to transmit the horrors of the Holocaust very effectively. The museum appeals to most of the senses which makes the experience that much more emotional. In particular, there’s a room where you can hear the actual voices of the victims explaining the horrors they went through during the war and you can clearly feel the terrors they carry in their voices. The part that probably shocked me the most was the model of the Auschwitz concentration camp which clearly displayed how the victims were transported into the gas chambers and the inhuman conditions which they faced.
The Smithsonian Air & Space museum was great because it shows the progress mankind has made from 1903 to today. It was amazing to see how in 116 years we went from a 4 second flight to reaching Mars. I loved how the museum had life-size models of the first planes to ever exist, because till then I had only read about the Wright brothers and watched their accomplishments on a screen. Seeing what they built and the chain of events that followed was super interesting and this museum exhibited this very well. As I was walking around the museum I felt this feeling of motivation and I loved how it showed that as humans can do great things if we put our hearts into it.
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History was also very impressive. Walking around the large hallways with life-size model of animals all around made me feel as though I was in a zoo in some instances. The museum displayed such life-like replicas of many different animals and I thought it was great, because for some of these animals I wouldn’t be able to see them this close, like the whale and the mammoth and it was an interesting experience. I loved this museum because it displayed the wonders of our planet and it gave me a newfound appreciation of everything that we take for granted in nature.
This weekend I’ll be going to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Portrait Gallery, and the National Geographic Museum. I’ve heard great things about these ones and I’m super excited!