Washington Travel Blog› entry 11 of 27 › view all entries
January 16th, 2010 – by: diisha392
Inside I went through the customary bag check and picked up a map from the information desk. I asked the docent if she had any recommendations for artwork I should not miss. She asked if I had been to their main museum over in Chinatown and I replied yes, I had been there for the Smithsonian Teacher Night a few years prior. My identity as a Spanish teacher revealed, the security guard wanted some pointers on how to roll her r's, a difficult skill.
After that chat, I headed up the tall staircase with a large chandelier hanging overhead. Instead of heading straight into the Grand Salon, I ducked into one of the smaller rooms focused on crafts. The focal point was a large cabinet called Bureau of Bureaucracy created over a six year period. The piece of furniture had various drawers and doors that appeared as it was explored (although not by guests since Do Not Touch warnings were everywhere!). It even had a miniature version of a reading room from the Library of Congress.
The next room focused on art with an organic feel. My favorite piece was the earthernware Temple Gate's Pass. Its design combined waves and blocks and conjured visions of noble western mountains.
I then moved into a smaller octagonal room with an old-fashioned feel: drapes, darker walls, an ornate chandelier, elaborate end tables and chairs. The artwork included two pieces by Mary Cassett including one of a young girl Sara in a Green Bonnet. Each of the paintings hailed from Cassett's era, further enhancing the older tone of the room.
Subtitled Mystery and Manners, the next room returned me to the present day.
I continued in a modern vein as I looked at some more fantastical creations. Game Fish, hanging on a wall, definitely demanded notice. The entire aquatic animal was made from a huge variety of former toys: dice, toy blocks, action figures, paintbrushes, even a badminton birdie. While Game Fish definitely amazed me, my favorite piece was Akikonomu, basically a vibrantly-colored tree trunk. I also really liked The Silk Rainforest with its tight columns of silk, linen, and cotton in tones mostly of blue and green, some more golden hues adding highlights.
A wide open space with a frosted skylight, the Grand Salon housed the most paintings. Placards in front of each wall showed a map that identified each painting's name and artist. While I did not know the names of any of these artists, I started to recognize the style of individual painters. (It was a neat feeling to look at a painting, notice similarities to another work, and identify the artist.)
Since the Renwick was between special exhibits, the Grand Salon was the last real stop on my visit to the museum. I quickly browsed the gift shop, just to see what they had, and then exited. I walked past Blair House and looked at the White House for a few moments before returning to the Metro.
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