Local Museums’ Holiday Exhibits Worth a Visit


photo courtesy of Devin Dotson

The Botanic Garden contains miniatures of famous D.C. landscapes created entirely from plant material. Above is a miniature of the Lincoln Memorial and below is a reproduction of the Washington Monument.

By Arielle Gordon, Arts Editor

The holidays are a time to be spent with family, and CHS students’ close proximity to Washington, D.C. allows them to spend time with family while also enjoying some of our nation’s tourist destinations and their special holiday exhibits.

U.S. Botanic Garden: If you’re looking for a place to warm up during the chilly holiday season, look no further than the U.S. Botanic Garden. Located just a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol, the indoor greenhouse is full of beautiful and exotic plants. The Botanic Garden was created by the U.S. Congress in 1820 and has been run by the Architect of the Capitol since 1934. The Botanic Garden is home to an 85,000 square foot greenhouse that is divided into 34 greenhouse bays and 16 environmental zones. The environments range from tropical rainforest to desert. In addition to all of the plants on regular display, the Botanic Garden has a large collection of orchids, medicinal plants and rare or endangered species.

Holiday exhibit: Season’s Greenings:
Pollination Station
Dates: Nov. 26, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
Location: U.S. Botanic Garden Co
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily
Cost: Free

The Botanic Garden will be decorated with trees and poinsettia plants for the holidays. Miniature trains will run on tracks made from plants in the East Gallery, and miniature replicas of many Washington D.C. landmarks, made entirely of plants, will be on display in the Garden Court. Additionally, the Pollination Station will be open and visitors can explore large plants, flowers and pollinating insects all around the Botanic Garden.

“One of my favorite aspects of the show, that I think would be interesting to high school students, is the creativity of the many sculptures and buildings that are part of the show – all built of plant materials,” said Devin Dotson, Public Affairs and Exhibits Specialist of the U.S. Botanic Garden. “From D.C. landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and many others to our oversized sculptures of plants and pollinators in the train exhibit gallery, they are great works of art.”

Smithsonian: The Smithsonian is a collection of 19 museums, nine research centers and one zoo. The Smithsonian was founded in 1846. James Smithson, a British scientist, died in 1829 and left $500,000 to the U.S. to found a research center. The Smithsonian Institution was officially created on Aug. 10, 1846 when Congress passed an act that was signed by President James K. Polk.
Many of the Smithsonian museums have new exhibitions opening around the holidays:

Air and Space Museum: Art of the Airport Tower
Dates: Nov. 11, 2015 – November 2016
Location: 1st floor, West End, Gallery 104, Air and Space Museum in D.C. (not the one near Dulles Airport)
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., daily (Closed Dec. 25)
Cost: Free

The Art of the Airport Tower exhibition will display 50 photographs of airport towers from all around the world, taken by Smithsonian photographer Carolyn Russo. The goal of the exhibition is to allow the public to understand the art and symbolism behind each airport tower. Some significant towers include the Ford Island Tower, which survived the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, and the tallest tower in the world in Bangkok, Thailand, at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. Other U.S. airport towers such as the tower at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Edwards Air Force Base and LaGuardia Airport are also featured.

Postal Museum: New York City: A Portrait through Stamp Art
Dates: Dec. 10, 2015 – March 13, 2017
Location: Level 1, Special Exhibition
Gallery, Postal Museum
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., daily (Closed Dec. 25)
Cost: Free

The exhibition features the Postmaster General’s Art Collection, which the Postal Museum obtained from the U.S. Postal Service. Thirty pieces of artwork, which display the art styles used to create some iconic stamps, will be shown. The artwork is divided into six categories: Baseball, Broadway, City Life, Icons, Music and Politics/Government. Works from all six categories will be on display. The art will focus on the elements that have made New York City what it is today.

National Museum of the American Indian: Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist
Dates: Nov. 7, 2015 – Sept. 18, 2016
Location: 3rd floor, National Museum
of the American Indian
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., daily (closed Dec. 25)
Cost: Free

Kay WalkingStick is a member of the Cherokee Nation and is a well-known Native American artist. This exhibit will feature over 75 pieces of her artwork including her paintings, drawings and sculptures. Some of her paintings are landscapes and will also be displayed. The collection is made up of artwork that WalkingStick has created over the last 40 years and showcases the changes in her work over time.

National Building Museum: The National Building Museum was created in 1980 after President Jimmy Carter signed a law to create a new museum to display information about buildings, architecture, landscaping, engineering, construction, urban planning and historic preservation. The law also declared that the Pension Building would be preserved and restored to house the new museum, where it is still housed today. The National Building Museum is in D.C., four blocks from the National Mall.
New Exhibition: Scaling Washington

Scaling Washington will feature photographer Colin Winterbottom’s images of the restoration of the Washington Monument and Washington National Cathedral following the August 2011 earthquake. Many of the images were taken from scaffolding to allow Winterbottom to get up high and close to the buildings. The goal of the photographs is to allow audiences to appreciate the beauty of the buildings and see them with a different perspective.

Dates: March 21, 2015 – Jan. 2, 2016
Location: National Building Museum
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Entrance into: Great Hall, Museum
Shop, café, docent-led tour of the building: Free
Entrance into museum: Museum members and children under age 2: Free
Adults: $10
Children age 3-17, Students (with valid
ID), seniors (over age 60): $7