Friday in DC: Smithsonians, lunch, and...home

By Bradley, Kyle, Kai, and Altana

On Friday, before we came back to New York, we split up into groups and went to different Smithsonian museums.  Some people went to the American Indian Museum and others went to the American History Museum. My group went to the Air and Space museum.  In my group were Stefan, Cara J, Samuel M, and Nick. The Air and Space Museum explored how we discovered outer space and took us on an adventure seeing the history behind most of the spaceships used.  For example there was a model in an exhibit, which showed how the Russians and Americans combined their space stations because they landed in the same area in outer space.  We got to see an exhibit that showed the evolution of space suits that were used over time to explore outer space.  We learned about the Hubble telescope and other satellites in space.  We got to see a model of the first ship that landed on the moon.  At the end, before we left, we went to the gift shop and bought a bunch of souvenirs, including astronaut ice cream. Then we met up with everyone else for lunch.
Sam and Isaiah showing off some souvenirs and the Air and Space Museum
On Friday, Altana, Jamie, Erin, Tom and I went to explore the Freer museum. It is a small, lovely building, dedicated to Asian Art. After checking our bags, the first room we looked at was full of Indian art. Sculptures of Gods and Goddesses carved from dark stone lined the walls and sat in cases, there were gold plaited necklaces, mother of pearl boxes and a painted ivory dagger, along with paintings and scrolls. After the elaborate ceramics and sculptures we turned to Japanese screen paintings by Hokusai. Each screen was delicately painted with images of washer women, rushing rivers, blossoming plants and birds, townspeople. There were four of five long screens in the entire room. Next we walked towards Islamic ceramics, the most beautiful pots, pans and bowls decorated in Islamic script and tiny flowers and animals.  After Islam, came the slightly more modern paintings by an American artist, James McNeil Whistler. These paintings depicted models in Asia. The painting that struck me the most was of a young woman in a gorgeous, colorful kimono surrounded by treasures and a screen, holding paintings by another Japanese artist. It was beautiful. After these painting we took a look in the peacock room, an actual room that had been shipped over seas that was painted a deep blue green and decorated entirely in every color and shape of ceramic pot, vase and bowl, from many different lands. Golden peacocks were stenciled onto the wall next to paintings. The Freer was incredible, each room held history, culture and art on it’s walls and in glass cases.

After visiting the Freer Kai, Jamie, Erin, Tom, and myself also visited the Hirschhorn museum. It was a large cylindrical concrete building that looked like a giant ring. On the grass surrounding it there were many sculptures. When we walked inside, the gray sides dotted with glass windows framed the azure sky that could be seen through it’s center. When we came to the exhibits, we saw an exhibit called Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color, and Space. Inside the exhibit were many corridors that connected to different rooms that each had a different exhibit filled with light. There was a room that had a few smaller rooms within it that each had a different color light. You had to wear white plastic covers over your shoes (so as not make the pristine white floors dirty) as you walked through vibrant shades of blue, green, orange, and pink. The effect was otherworldly. After leaving that bright room, we came to another space that had long blue tendrils hanging from the ceiling to the floor. As we walked through the large square space they occupied, we pulled them aside and spun and just walked to feel them brush against us like tentacles. Then we went to a different room that had cushions on floor so that you could lay on the ground and look up at the light display on the ceiling. We were reluctant to leave the museum and when we did were longing to visit it again.

Then we all had lunch near our Bed and Breakfast before heading home. At Adams Morgan my group had originally decided to eat at a salad bar with some of the teachers. The choices were McDonalds, salad bar, falafel and pizza. After wandering around the neighborhood searching for the salad bar in vain, my friends and I, with Aeden and Cynthia, went to a tiny hole in the wall empanada place that apparently had won a Best Of DC award for its empanadas. I ordered a saltenas empanada, stuffed with chicken, olives, hard boiled egg, spices and other delicious ingredients, along with a dessert empanada with pear and almond paste. We sat outside because seats were limited and ate our empanadas together on the sidewalk. They were delicious. After we’d finished and it had started to rain, we walked to McDonalds to meet up with the group before heading home. When we got back to the Bed and Breakfast, our bus was waiting for us, so we put all of our luggage on the bus and headed home.

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