Friday, July 23, 2010

#79 Visit 5 DC Museums....

Remember how I insanely made a list at the Day Zero Project (the 101 things in 1001 days list)?

I finished my first one! #79!!!


It was a semi-cheat because I knew I was going to Washington DC at the end of June, but I put "visit 5 DC museums I've never visited" to encourage me to try something new and exciting. Since the fiance would be trapped (um, is "trapped" the right word for "working in an air-conditioned convention center all day while girlfriend sweats her sweet ASS off"? hmm) for eight hours a day, I had many hours to fill. Believe it or not - well actually, if you've been to DC, you'll totally believe it - about 20 or so free hours was actually not enough time. I'm not worried about that though; because Jam was trapped at a conference, he didn't have the chance to see much of anything except the Washington Monument from a taxi and Union Station, poor guy, so we're already talking about going back there. Plus I shafted friends that live in DC due to the complete lack of free time in my weekend and due to the fact that by Sunday afternoon at 2pm, I was frickin spent. So spent that I spent an hour and a half at a random Starbucks reading a magazine and then another 45 minutes snoozing in the lobby of the Westin...even though we had checked out at 9am. Classy.

Anywho, the museum QUEST was successful! Here's a brief synopsis with pictures. Some of these places I've visited before, but I did fit in the five new!


Booked it to the Museum of Natural History.


I've been to the museum four or five times. I'm a bio nerd, I can't help it! Truly, it feels so familiar and home-y to me, it reminds me of college. Smith had this way waaaay scaled down version of geological displays, Tufts had elephants everywhere, the smell of taxidermy is strangely comforting. Yes, yes I know it is sick and deranged, but I skipped through the entrance and smiled when I saw the big old elephant in the rotunda:


Next I wanted to see the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond, the only other blue diamond similar in size to the Hope Diamond. It is at the Smithsonian for in-depth analysis; scientists are trying to determine if it was mined from the same mine as the Hope or even cut from the same stone. Crazy.

Here's the Hope out of it's setting (for analytic purposes)


And the Wittelsbach-Graff


I think they must be from the same mine!

I looked at all the other gems as long as I could stand the crowds. It gets bad in there, and while I was visiting at about 6pm during the museum's summer extended hours, it did little to control the crowding in the gems (though it was great in the rest of the museum!!)

Spanish Inquisition Necklace. Frickin' gorgeous!

Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace - another fav, I love the color of these sapphires!

This is a kunzite and freshwater pearl necklace. Isn't it pretty?

Hall of Oceans. Pretty sure I hadn't seen this before....

Mammals exhibit, which features a huge emphasis on sub-Saharan mammals....which is what I studied in Kenya ("The Grazing Habits of Sixteen Large Mammals and the Ostrich in Nairobi National Park") so naturally I kind of get off on this exhibit and the fantastic attention to detail, though I would expect nothing less from the Smithsonian. Note on the left how the leopard is featured in a tree with its kill? Fab.

While I was at the Natural History Museum, I also looked at various bones, skulls, learned about evolution and looked at a LOT of insects. Fun times. But patience and energy were wearing thin, and we had dinner plans with Jamaal's friends, so I called it a night and headed back to the hotel, snapping a few shots of Smithsonian Castle on the way out:



Up next: the brutal, grueling, energy-sapping schedule that was Saturday.

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