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Smithsonian museums

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Smithsonian museums


We were wanting some opinions as to which of the Smithsonian museums in the Mall to visit.

We are Australians in our 50s with a respect and interest in America's history etc but no absolute yearning to know anything specific.

We know that different things appeal to different people but we also know that we can't do all the museums in the couple of hours that we have given all the monuments, Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool etc etc in that area.

If you could only visit 1, 2 or 3, which would it be?

We are off at about 10am so if any helpful TAs are on line, a quick opinion would be so very much appreciated.

Many thanks.

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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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1. Re: Smithsonian museums

I don't know that anyone can really answer that for you. I would look at the Smithsonian website and see which exhibits in which museums might appeal to you.


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2. Re: Smithsonian museums

Note that the National Gallery of Art is not part of the Smithsonian, but it really is a world class collection if you like art.

I'm also fond of the Freer/Sackler/African Art complex which features Asian, African and Western art.

The American History Museum has more interactive exhibitions than the art museums. It's been a few years since I've been to Natural History, but if you like dinosaurs and sparkly rocks, you can't go wrong there. Air and Space is popular with kids, but also gives you a sense about the history of flight and space travel with some amazing exhibits.

It realy depends on what interests you.

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3. Re: Smithsonian museums

I think the obvious choice would be the National Museum of American History. If time allows, I'd follow that up with the National Air and Space Museum.

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4. Re: Smithsonian museums

Lots of other Natural History museums around the world. A number of Air & Space museums too. The American History Museum has things you will not see anywhere else in the world and many of them are not related to obscure American-only events. I agree it is the obvious choice unless you want an art museum.

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5. Re: Smithsonian museums

Another vote for the Freer/Sackler/African Art complex. They're all together grouped around a formal garden (which has been in various stages of overhaul/replanting lately, but beautiful when everything is in place :)). Among the "big" Smithsonian museums, if I had to choose one, I vote for American History.

If you're in Penn Quarter, I'd walk through the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum (collectively called the Reynolds Center - I usually just call it all the NPG b/c it's ONE building on one city block and this three-name thing is needlessly confusing). It has a beautiful inner courtyard where you can relax and regroup and is surrounded by excellent restaurants at a variety of price points (Proof, Ella's Pizza, Matchbox, Luke's Lobster, Poste in the Hotel Monaco, Asia 9.......).

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6. Re: Smithsonian museums

I'm going to march to the beat of a different drummer and throw in a plug for the US Botanic Garden at 3rd and Maryland, part of the Capitol, located by the Native American museum, two very interesting places. I suggest lunch at the latter.

And we have a PEACOCK ROOM -- …si.edu/exhibitions/current/peacockroom.asp

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7. Re: Smithsonian museums

If you have any interest in stamps, a new stamp gallery is opening in a fewdays at the Smithsonian Postal Museum, right by the Union Station. Here's a preview: usatoday.com/story/…

8. Re: Smithsonian museums

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