The Mall is the heart of almost every visitor’s trip to Washington. With nearly a dozen museums ringing the green, it’s the closest thing the capital has to a theme park. The best part—almost everything worth going to here is free.
It’s impossible to see all of the Mall’s attractions in a day. Try to devote at least two days to your visit. Even then it pays to read up on each museum’s offerings so that you can maximize your sightseeing. Here are highlights of things going on this spring at a few of our favorite Mall museums:
National Air & Space Museum
Museum celebrities: Spirit of St. Louis and Wright 1903 Flyer
What’s new: Kites rule this March. On March 18, Family Day, kids and adults can build the perfect kite for the museum’s Smithsonian Kite Festival held on March 25. The museum is also currently developing a large new exhibition titled America by Air, which will be completed in Summer 2007.
National Gallery of Art, East Building
Museum celebrity: Picasso’s The Lovers and Family of Saltimbanques
What’s new: Through May 14, Dada, an exhibition devoted to the passionate avant-garde art movement, fills the Upper Level and Mezzanine.
National Gallery of Art, West Building
Museum celebrity: Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi’s The Adoration of the Magi
What’s new: In honor of the centenary of Paul Cézanne, Cézanne in Provence will feature the artist’s landscapes of Aix-en-Provence through May 7.
National Museum of Natural History
Museum celebrity: The museum’s Dinosaur Hall
What’s new: Through April 23, the photographs of Ivar Utsi Klemetsen will be on display in the museum’s newest exhibit Frost: Life and Culture of the Sámi- Reindeer People of Norway.
National Museum of African Art
Museum celebrity: Hands-on workshops
What’s new: The 525-piece Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection, which represents almost every major form of African art, was recently given to the museum by the Walt Disney World Co.
Museum celebrities: Important papers—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
What’s new: Yesteryear’s laborers take center stage in “The Way We Worked,” a photography exhibit running through May 29.
National Museum of American History
Museum celebrities: Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, a section of Woolworth’s lunch counter from a famous 1960s sit-in.
What’s new: Fans of the movie Ray will want to swing by before next September to catch the museum’s tribute to the musician, Ray Charles: The Genius.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Museum favorite: Daniel’s Story, an exhibit that aims to educate children about the Holocaust
What’s new: Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed on April 25. The museum’s commemoration, Legacies of Justice, will honor those who testified during the trials of Nazi war criminals.
Developing an itinerary for a future trip to D.C? Find out what our talk forum users suggest you don’t miss on your next trip:
Photo by Mark Avino/OIPP, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution