Monday, July 20, 2009

Me at the Museums, part three

This is the final installment about my Sunday at the museums. My last stop was the American Art Museum. It shares a building, the old patent building, with the National Portrait Gallery, so I saw a bit of that, too. These museums were renovated a few years ago, and this was my first time visiting since then.

The exhibit that drew me yesterday was 1934: A New Deal for Artists. These are just a taste of what it offered. The exhibit will travel, so you might want to see it if it comes to your area.

These mountain lions are at Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The Subway scene is NYC. The harbor is Baltimore.

I enjoyed that exhibit, but my favorite parts of the museum were on the top level. The great hall was such an unexpected space. Ornate, unlike the rooms on the lower levels, the hall was a hidden surprise.

Lincoln's second Inaugural Ball was held in this building. I think the Great Hall was where the buffet dinner was served. Tickets to the ball were $10, which went to the war effort.

Similar, but less ornate, the hall adjacent to the Great Hall held the Luce Foundation Center, an open storage area for objects that would not otherwise be on display. Fascinating. So much to see in such a small space. Drawers full of miniatures, Paintings hung tightly spaced behind glass, in aisles about as wide as an average house's hallway. The collection is fully searchable; there were computers located at stations at the end of the hall. The Center also offered free coffee and wifi!

Next to this hall was the Lunder Conservation Center. I wish I'd been there on a weekday, so I could have watched the conservators at work. The labs were open to view.

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