Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day tripper, yeah

At the end of the school year, we asked each of the older children to name one trip they'd like to make during our summer together. After vetoing "Disney" and "Italy" and explaining that we really meant nearby and affordable, they chose a beach visit, a D.C. visit and a family camping trip.

Beach visit - CHECK

Camping trip - moved to fall when temps soared into the 100's

D.C. was Jazz's choice. She asked to see art museums other than our local haunts, Blue Skies and The Chrysler. We'd visited several Smithsonian museums, but not the National Gallery of Art. It sounded wonderful for a quick day trip. After dropping Irish Jig with friends for the day, we headed up the road and parked just off the National Mall. A few blocks later and we entered the East Gallery building which houses the modern art. An hour or so later, my children decided that they were not modern art fans. We giggled our way through the Deacon Peckham exhibit, listening to Zydeco's horror at seeing the young boys in dresses and pantaloons. Jazz didn't understand why the children's heads were so large, but their bodies weren't. We tried to explain Folk Art and proportion, but finally admitted defeat. As we worked our way to the underground tunnel connecting the East and West Gallery buildings, Mr. Neoclassic regaled the children with his memories of visiting the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum with Nana many years ago. She called us heathens and art peasants because we giggled at the mis-proportioned bodies.

Day Trippers at the East Gallery with the modern art

The West Gallery houses the European paintings and sculpture, from the thirteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and the American art. We each picked a country or time period that we wanted to see and planned our attack. There wasn't time to see it all. Classic Rock opted for the 18th and 19th century Spanish because he'd studied Goya during the past school year. Jazz chose to find the only da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere. She read a biography of da Vinci at school and was eager to see his work "up close and personal".

Mr. Neoclassic wanted to see the impressionists so we entered the 18th and early 19th century French rooms. This is where the best line of the day was heard....

"Mama, did the French people ever wear clothes?"

Uhm, yeah, Jazz was a little surprised to see all those bathing nudes. We talked about the beauty of the human form and how it's okay for art to show nudes. She seemed unconvinced, but at least kept her commentary more low key.

I ducked into the 13th to 15th century Italian rooms to see the religious icons. The work wasn't always very sophisticated, but the subject matter was wonderful. We enjoyed seeing the triptych images of Biblical events, usually involving the Madonna and Child. They were spectacular.

Zydeco was happy to wander through the Sculpture Garden and walk alongside the Perspective House. Each time we visit D.C., he manages to find his way to this piece of art. It's cool to walk by the House and witness it undulate. It's not moving, of course, but it truly seems like it is as you walk beside it.

We stopped for lunch at a local deli just a few blocks off the mall and were shocked (and thrilled) to find our favorite potato chips offered.

After lunch, we headed to the Botanical Gardens. More on that later!  If you ever have the chance to spend time roaming the Smithsonian Museums (which have free admission, my friends), do so.  It's a wonderful way to enrich schooling.  I have really enjoyed watching our children make connections between what they are seeing and what they learned in the classroom or at home about a subject.

And who doesn't love free?


  1. Sounds like you guys had fun. The girls would love a trip up there.

    1. Nette, It was such a great day. Very LONG, but awesome. They were hysterical. The art museum is huge, so maybe have them pick a few artists they want to see and plan the trip that way. We want to go back and see the whole other half that we skipped this go round.


I thank you for visiting with me and for sharing your thoughts. I hope your day is fabulous and that you make some time for music - no matter what kind!