July 4, 5 & 6, 2014

The weekend in Washington, DC.  While everyone else here was all excited about spending the 4th on the Mall in Washington, I kept thinking how I’d pretty much break an arm than be forced to do that.  The noise, the crowds and the port-a-potties.  Gives me the willies.

That is what they did and of course not were able to get near any of the stages.  I, on the other hand, went to brother Andrew’s and had a quite lovely and peaceful 4th with him, his wife Ann, and a couple of their friends.  Made a startling discover.  He can cook!  He claims that he never does it at the family gatherings because he doesn’t want to get in our way.  I’m thinking it’s his top secret cover.

Andrew and Andy

Andrew and Andy

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We went to a neighborhood picnic where everyone gathered for an old fashioned egg-toss and hot dog kind of celebration.  There was even a “band stand” with a pretty good band.

Neighborhood band

Neighborhood band

I returned to UMD campus early the 5th and ventured into Washington for a long day of exploring.  Pretty sure I walked 10 miles.  Washington Monument to the Smithsonian Folk Art Festival on the Mall in front of the museums.

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This year’s Festival featured China and Kenya.  Stopped for a few minutes to see the Chinese Dancers and had a quick Kenyan snack in the tent where this guy was playing some very cool folk music.

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Then through the Sculpture Garden and to the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. I walked around here for nearly 2 hours and, of course, saw a tenth of the building.  It’s pretty stunning to stand in front of so many familiar works of art.

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National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

I feel like I’ve seen this piece before, or at least one like it.  But this time, after doing our Civil War visits, it reminded me of cannon balls and the desperate faces of the Civil War soldiers looking from the inside out, as if to say “let me out of this mess.”

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From the National Gallery of Art I hoofed it up 7th Street and went to the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Gallery to see the exhibit “American Cool.”  Lots of great old photographs of “cool” Americans.  This exhibit is on display until September 7.

http://www.npg.si.edu/exhibit/exhcool.html

Wandered this entire gallery for a couple hours.  It fascinates me to look at all these faces through the centuries and to imagine what their lives were like.  The eyes say a lot.

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Me and Sequoyah and Tecumseh

Me and Sequoyah and Tecumseh

This piece was one of my favorites in the American Art Gallery.  You have to look closely to realize that it is composed of license plates and spells out the Preamble.  It was created by North Carolina artist Mike Wilkins.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The highlight of this day was the visit to Ford’s Theatre.  This is a National Park and is a Washington stop that I have never made.  I met up with some of the other scholars from NEH and we had tickets to the play “One Destiny,” which chronicles the events of April 14, 1865 for the tourist crowd.  The theatre itself is quite lovely and the museum is informative.  It’s one of those “timed” visits, however, and I didn’t feel that we had enough time to absorb all that was in the museum.

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Ford's Theatre

Ford’s Theatre

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We exited the theatre at 6:30 and made the long trek back to UMD on the Metro.  Long day as evidenced by the painful feet and legs!

Sunday July 6 is a lazy day in honor of all the walking on Saturday!  I hope to invent a pair of clouds that will massage my feet while I’m walking!

 

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