We made our way off the metro to the National Mall. The sky was grey and the mist was cool. Yet something about a grey, rainy day in Washington D.C. didn’t sound so bad. The grass was dewy and the mall was clear aside from a few people lingering in the rain. A smile crept to my face as I looked upon the wide open space dotted with the neoclassical buildings of our nation’s capital. The Washington Monument stood to my one side, while the United States Captiol Building stood to my other.
Before getting a closer look at the monuments, we were off to go museum hopping. What better way to spend a rainy day. The Washington Monument peered through the foliage as we made our way to our first museum.
We stepped out of the rain into the modern looking Smithsonian Museum of American History. I wandered through the museum, learning a bit about the many facets of American History. This museum displayed everything from pop culture to war memorabilia.
Our visit to the Museum of American History was to find Dorthy’s Ruby Red Slippers. As we perused the pop culture section of the museum looking for the glimmer to catch our eye, we concluded that Dorthy’s Ruby Red Slipper wasn’t on display. After checking with the service desk, our suspicions were verified: Dorthy’s Ruby Red Slipper has been taken off display for preservation.
While we didn’t find Dorthy’s Ruby Red Slipper, the Museum of American History did not disappoint. I could’ve spent hours at the museum, taking in its’ every detail. I especially enjoyed the collection of dresses of the First Ladies and the election memorabilia.
The rain intensified from a mist to a drizzle as we crossed the National Mall to our next museum. Most people were crowding under umbrellas, yet I was still embracing the damp weather. While museum hopping was the perfect escape from the rain, I yearned to walk around Washington D.C. and to experience its grandeur. Alas, the weather was not permitting. Yet our snippets of D.C. between museum hopping would suffice.
When we arrived at our next museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, we took our time walking the grounds amid the rain. The design of the building itself was quite interesting; its modern circular shape corresponded to the type of art on display at the museum. My favorite part of the museum was the Sculpture Garden. The sculptures were quite impressive. Roy Lichtenstein’s “Brushstroke” and Juan Munoz’s “The Last Conversation Piece” were dynamic.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a modern contemporary museum. The museum had some interesting exhibits yet lacked the variation needed to keep my interest. We started our visit through an endless corridor of Lego portraits by Ai Weiwei. While Ai Weiwei’s exhibit was unique, after you’ve seen a few Lego portraits, you’ve seen them all. We continued through the museum, past sculptures and sculpture replicas. Everything was interesting yet quite absurd. I saw several piles of clothing on the ground and I had to question, “what is this”? Perhaps I don’t appreciate or understand contemporary art enough or perhaps it is that type of questioning that the contemporary artist is after.
I really enjoyed the immersive exhibit ‘What Absence is Made of’. This installation utilized mechanical sounds and the motorized release of translucent white paper. It was equal parts mesmerizing and totally bizarre. Nonetheless I had a blast playing in the piles of paper.
After thoroughly exploring the Hirshorn Museum, we were off in search of our next museum of the day. We headed in the direction of the Botanical Garden, debating along the way if we’d rather go to a different Smithsonian. Yet our decision was made for us once we made it to the end of the National Mall. It was almost 5:00 p.m. and the museums were starting to close.
We paused for a quick moment by the Capitol Building Reflection pool. There wasn’t much of a reflection on this rainy day but it was the perfect spot to mentally reflect on the day. Regardless of the rain, it ended up being a great day in Washington D.C.. However, our moment to reflect and enjoy the view was short due to the intensifying rain.
With the museums closed, we were off in the search of dinner. We opted to go to Chinatown. Within the short walk through Chinatown, I was immediately smitten with its cozy facades and understated vibrance.
Just a few streets into Chinatown and we made it to Reren. Reren seemed to be a hole in the wall type of establishment that focused on natural and authentic Asian dishes. Most importantly, we were dry and the food was delicious. I scarfed down my General Tso Chicken between sips of matcha bubble tea.
Once we finished dinner, we dashed down the street in the now pouring rain. Soaked yet satisfied with the day, we retreated to the subway.