Friday, 20 November 2009

DC: The Holocaust Museum and Smithsonian

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum After hours of walking in the hot sun, it was an absolute pleasure to arrive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  There was a long queue to get in and heightened security too as it was shortly after the fatal and tragic shooting that took place there on June 10th. The employees were friendly though and the queue went quickly so I was inside in no time. 
United States Memorial Holocaust Museum It was free to get into the museum but I wasn’t able to get into the main exhibit The Holocaust.  About 1.7 million people visit the Holocaust Museum each year and to get into the main exhibit between March and August, you need to either get there first thing in the morning to book a slot or there are a limited number of passes that you can book online before your visit.  Advanced passes are not required between September and February.
I was not disappointed though as I was able to go to the From Memory to Action: Meeting the Challenge of Genocide exhibition on the second floor.  You may know that I am interested in the topic of genocide and run another blog too where I post about topics such as war, genocide and humanitarian crises.  You can find my blog at A Passion to Understand.
As always, click on any of the photos for enlargements
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
I found the exhibit to be fascinating.  As you walk in, there is a display running right along the wall that chronicles and describes the situations in Rwanda, Bosnia and Sudan.  There are also screens and other interactive devices giving eye witness accounts of these conflicts.  It was a chilling but very rewarding visit and made me even more determined to carry on blogging about and researching these events.

In what seemed like no time at all, I made my way back out into the sun and I made my way towards the Smithsonian Institute which is "an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States" according to Wikipedia.  Quite apart from the fact that all of the museums are free, I’d say that the Smithsonian is worth visiting just to see all the beautiful buildings!
There was the Freer Gallery of Art and the National Museum of Natural History across on the other side.
Freer Gallery of Art National Museum of Natural History
The building that most captured my imagination was the Smithsonian Castle which houses the Institution’s administrative offices and the information centre. 
Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle Smithsonian Castle Smithsonian Castle
I also loved the High Victorian styling of the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.
Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
Look at that exquisite brick, glass and metal work!

My final stop before reaching my destination was the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
I didn’t go inside but I did walk around the stunning sculpture garden.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
I was quite taken with Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC, 2007.  This is a lovely idea where people can write out their wishes and attach it to the tree.  I was just too satisfied to wish for any at that moment.  “Satisfied” isn’t the right word but it comes close.  I was already at peace.
Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC, 2007
There were two other pieces I quite liked too and they were Barry Flanagan’s The Drummer and Henry Moore’s King and Queen, 1952-1953.
Barry Flanagan’s The Drummer  Henry Moore’s King and Queen, 1952-1953.
Such lovely art! It makes me quite keen to rush off and visit an art gallery again soon!
I visited the USA in June 2009 and I absolutely fell in love. I visited New York and Washinton, DC and hope to go back for Christmas 2010. To see other posts from my trip, click on the tags below.
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4 comments

  1. I have not had the time to go thru the Holocaust Museum in my many business trips to DC, but also am a little reluctant to go there. However, I managed to get thru the Imperial War Museum's Holocaust section and learned so much there I'm determined to work up the courage to go thru ours on a future trip.

    The old Smithsonian building is the neatest, architecturally, but the best of the Smithsonian museums is the Air & Space...did you not have time to go there? If not, put it at the top of your list for your next visit!

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  2. Ciao EMM, thank you! You know it, my trips with you are still interesting :)

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  3. I most envious - love the wonderful architectonic quality of your photos of Washington.Hope you get to see that famous building designed by the Irish architect James Hoban - T think it is today called the "White House." If I had my way every town would have DC after its name!

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  4. @ Kathy: Hee hee. I think you might like my next DC post if you;re looking for the Air & Space museum! I didn't know about the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. I've been wanting to go back there for ages and this is a brilliant excuse!

    @ Italo: Thank you! I aim to please.

    @ Daithai: Ha! "Architectonic" - that is a new term for me. I guess I am a deeply architectonic girl then because I love taking photos of buildings and structures.

    I never knew the White House was built by an Irish man! Nice one. I did indeed visit it earlier on during that day.

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