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posted on 11.02.09

This past summer, I went to visit the Smithsonian in DC. I haven't been there since I was about 15 or 16 years old. Now that I'm a bit older, I can really appreciate the cultural value of the museum, whereas when I was younger my class would take field trips there in the winter, and all I could think about was why it was so freezing outside and how I'd rather be snuggled up in bed. This time I was especially excited because I was viewing works along with my sister and close friend, and was able to use some of my art history knowledge that I thought I would never have reason to impart upon anyone else. I walked into the Hirsshorn Museum (or at least I tried, but was momentarily trapped in the revolving doors thanks to my sister) and watched as my little sister's eyes lit up when she saw works by Chuck Close, Philip Guston, and the huge installation of the Man sitting in the corner (If you haven't been, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when you see it or should I say him). The other museum I love to visit, that is part of the Smithsonian Institution, is the National Portrait Gallery.

I have always been fascinated by painting the human figure and developing creative compositions for portraits. We also went to the National Museum of African Art and the National Museum of the American Indian. The National Museum of African Art is definitely still as interesting to me now as it was when I was younger, but now it is for different reasons. As I walked through the museum with my sister and friend, all I noticed was how beautiful and intricate the designs were, whereas when I was younger I was excited by the fact that everything in the museum was so different from what I had ever seen before and that there were certain areas where I could interact with some of the objects. Then we went to the National Museum of the American Indian, my sister and I saw an exhibit detailing the culture and history of the Indian’s from the island on which our father grew up, who are also our ancestors.

We have only been able to visit our father’s island twice when we were much younger, so it was very educational, insightful, and exciting to learn about our origins. I love going to the Smithsonian because it most definitely unites art and culture. Also, the museum is free of charge. The museums I mentioned above are only a handful of the museums that are part of the Smithsonian. There is also the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and several others.

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