Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Back to the Mall Washington DC, Thursday, 27 October 2011 8:23pm

Today was another day on The Mall. The forecast was for rain, so I'd planned a lot of museum visits. I started with the National Air and Space Museum. I had no idea how large the Hubble Space Telescope was. It's huge. It's weird to compare it to the capsules used to return astronauts to earth (tiny!). The Wright Brothers display was also very interesting. It talked a lot about the process the brothers used to work out the science necessary to get their plane aloft. The plane itself is right there as well (not a reproduction, the actual first Wright Flyer).

I passed through the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden on my way to the Natural History Museum. I didn't know Sol Lewitt did sculptures, but they have one there. As a side note, I've been amazed at the number of Calder sculptures that are around this city.

I was a little underwhelmed by the dinosaur and mammal fossils at the Natural History Museum, and the Ocean exhibit seemed like an afterthought. However, they have a great collection of trilobites and other older fossils, and their gem and mineral exhibit is really impressive. It's hard to believe that rocks come in so many beautiful shapes and colors. Seeing large, geometric shapes (cubes, hexagonal prisms, beveled edges) and realizing that they formed without human intervention is pretty cool. There were some good displays in the modern mammals area as well.

I tried to go to the National Gallery of Art, but it turned out that they close earlier than the other museums, so I went to the Reynolds Center instead. It houses the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There were some interesting pieces in each, but my favorite exhibit was the "Hall of Wonders" which explored 19th century American themes like inventions (railroads, clocks, waterwheels, lightbulbs, rifles) and natural attractions (buffalo, giant trees, botany, Niagara Falls).

Back in Maryland, Eric, Leah, and I had dinner at a good Pho place. Jackfruit has been very available on this trip. Yum!