Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Mark your calendar: American History Museum Reopens November 21

Each time I volunteer at the Smithsonian, someone will inevitably ask, “Where are Dorothy’s slippers?” and “Where can I see the first ladies’ gowns?”. On November 21, the Smithsonian Institution will kick off a three-day festival to celebrate the reopening of the National Museum of American History.

The first 1,814 visitors through the museum doors will receive a special gift in honor of 1814, the year of the Battle of Baltimore when the Star-Spangled Banner waving at “dawn’s early light” inspired Francis Scott Key. The old favorites like the American Presidency, Julia Child’s kitchen, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, and America on the move will return on display with a new state-of-the-art gallery for the Star-Spangled Banner.

The museum closed in 2006 for an extensive $85 million renovation. The new interior features a skylit atrium and a grand staircase of metal and glass that connects the first and second floors. Artifact walls on the first and second floors will showcase some of the 3 million objects in the museum’s permanent collection.

So don’t miss the official ribbon cutting and plan to drop by between 10:00 am – 7:30 pm for the festivities.

TONIGHT: Bringing the Sea to Life

Image courtesy Zandra Rhodes

Image courtesy Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes, a British fashion designer, presents “Designing an Ocean-Themed Opera: The Pearl Fisheries” tonight in the Baird Auditorium of the Museum of Natural History at 6:45 pm. This free illustrated lecture will delve into her inspiration for the production of Georges Bizet’s exotic opera. She will talk about the sets and costumes as well as the challenges of bringing the sea to stage.

A book signing will follow the lecture. Copies of “Zandra Rhodes and the Art of Textiles” will be available for purchase in the museum book store.

6:45 p.m. – lecture
7:45 p.m. – book-signing

Free and open to the public.

National Museum of Natural History
Baird Auditorium, ground level
10th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Made in Hong Kong

Freer Gallery of Art Originally uploaded by ultra-K

One of the things I love most about living in DC is the film festivals.

If you’re in the mood for a little Chinese before the Olympics kick off, head over to the 13th Annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival at the Freer Gallery. Tonight’s film, “The Postmodern Life of My Aunt,” will screen in the Meyer Auditorium at 7 pm.

If you miss this showing, the movie repeats on Sunday,  August 3 at 2:00 pm.

Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Up to two tickets per person are distributed one hour before show time.

Anthropologist Explains Crystal Skull Mystery

museum of natural historyFor those of you looking for answers, tomorrow afternoon Jane MacLaren Walsh will be available to talk about the Natural History Museum’s crystal skull on temporary display in the “Science in the News” case.

At noon, the documentary “Legend of the Crystal Skulls” will screen in the Baird Auditorium on the ground level of the museum. When the lights come up, Walsh will be available for what should be a very interestinga session of questions and answers

While the event is free, seating is first come, first serve.

The crystal skull is on display in the ground level of the Natural History Museum through September 1st. The museum is open until 7:30 pm daily thru the Labor Day weekend.

Heavy Metal: Renaissance Warfare at the Folger Shakespeare Library

armor exhibitWarfare today mirrors its state during Shakespeare’s time. Science delivered a period of transformation. As technology improved with the introduction of gun powder and the musket, the role of the armored knight and his physical strength lost its military usefulness.

Most of the custom made armor reflect the look of contemporary fashion. While these breast plates and helmets protected the wearer, they also served as vehicles for establishing social status and as a reminder of familial ties.

You can see these old suits in “Now Thrive the Amorers: Arms and Armor in Shakespeare” that runs thru September 9, 2008. The Higgins Armory Museum, the only museum dedicated to armor in the western hemisphere, lends from its collection of military treatises, fencing manuals, gilded arms and etched armor.

Three quarter armor, coats of arms, broad swords and rapiers line the walls of the Folger Great Hall. A free cell phone audio tour provides additional information on family ties, the day’s fashion trends, and Renaissance battle strategies.

201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Mysterious Crystal Skull Revealed

Crystal SkullIn 1992, a mysterious package was delivered to the National Museum of Natural History containing an unsigned letter and an enormous, milky crystal skull.

On display for the first time, the 31 pound Smithsonian skull dwarfs the crystal skulls on view at the British Museum in London and the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

Is this one of the legendary 13 Aztec skulls? Does a mystical healing energy emanate from this crystal object? Does it come from Atlantis?

Smithsonian anthropologist Jane McLaren Walsh thinks not. She began her investigation soon after the milky quartz skull arrived at the Smithsonian. She identified modern stone-carving tool marks and determined that the skull couldn’t have been carved before the mid-19th century. Instead, she believes the skull was manufactured in Mexico around 1960.

Is this really a story of New Age hype? Or could there be some truth to the skull’s mystique?

The crystal skull is on display in the ground level of the Natural History Museum through September 1st. The museum is open until 7:30 pm daily thru the Labor Day weekend. Why not head over there after work and check it out for yourself.

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