I’m not sure how many of you like visiting museums – there are so many types. I, personally, tend to lean towards the arts. With three kids, a husband and a full-time job life is hectic. I’ll bet if you look up “hectic” in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of me holding three kids, sobbing (me – not the kids) and the definition will say “Kim’s life“. I digress. Anywhooo…
I try to visit museums as much as I can. Unfortunately, traveling beyond 60 miles to make a visit is out of the question right now. However, I did have the surprising pleasure not too long ago to visit the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. with my ten-year old and her classmates. I have to say, I was extremely impressed. Initially I thought it was going to be quite boring. I mean, who wants to walk around looking at a bunch of faces in fancy frames. I will say, though – sometimes the frames were more impressive than the faces in them. I’m just sayin’….
I was truly blown away from the moment I saw the first portrait – presidential hopeful, Barack Obama. You may recall during the campaign seeing an image of Obama in red, white and blue with the words HOPE written below his face. Words can’t express the “awe” I felt. Honestly, I wasn’t awe-struck because of WHO I was seeing – it was WHAT I was seeing that filled me. Unless you’ve seen the original portrait up close, you wouldn’t have ever known that the portrait is really a collage and is nearly eight feet tall (or somewhere around there). It was on exhibit for a limited time and I feel quite lucky that I had the opportunity to see it up close.
Around every corner – new, profound discoveries. I’m not exaggerating. For example, there is a facial cast of Abraham Lincoln early in his presidency beside a second facial cast created right before or after he died (I can’t recall). The differences are amazing. You can see how the presidency and the war took its toll – it was exacted upon his face. I stood there studying his face long after the tour moved on. Remarkable. There are casts of his hands as well.
The tour and tour guide were excellent. You could see and feel the passion and reverence of the tour guide for the museum and its works. We didn’t just “talk” about what we were seeing. We analyzed the works – studied the style, the feelings they conveyed, the positioning of the subject – even the choice of color, medium, size, brush stroke. All told a story and left you with an understanding of the artist and his or her intent when creating the piece.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Check it out for yourself – visit the museum. Even the interior and exterior architecture are inspiring. Or, take a look at the simple presentation I created of some snapshots taken during the tour. Apologies in advance for the poor quality. I took the images with my Blackberry (shrinking in shame).