Thursday, July 23, 2009
Surprises--good and bad--at Washington Museums
This week I'm in Washington for the Fulbright Orientation and have managed to squeeze in some museum visits. I found some things to love, some things to annoy me, and some beautiful surprises, all of which I'll get to in future posts.
For now, something I loved: the courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery. The enclosed (and very cool and pleasant on a hot steamy day) provided an beautiful respite place--and clearly others found it the same. In the late afternoon, in the courtyard, people were having meetings, reading, using the computer, talking on cell phones, sleeping, flirting, eating, listening to quiet background music and more.
As people entered the space, virtually everyone stopped, looked around, and sort of let out a deep breath--and then relaxed. A beautiful addition to the city and a great testimony to the power of design and place.