Next we went to the Renwick Gallery. For quite some time, I was interested in visiting this nugget of 19th Century Victorian architecture, and was curious about the art contained in its walls, assuming it would be a collection of classic art. It instead turned out to be yet another museum in which the building outshone the exhibits: 20th Century silver, Catlin’s Indian paintings, and modern folk art. Blah, not what I had hoped for. If you do go, don’t miss the Game Fish, the Bureau of Bureaucracy, and the Ghost Clock.
The Naval Museum was very comprehensive and intelligent, with one of the densest gatherings of historic naval artifacts I have seen. This museum ranks with the Submarine Force Museum (Groton, CT) and the Mariner’s Museum (Newport News, VA) as one of the best US Naval museums. I also took the self-guided tour of the USS BARRY, which I want to revisit sometime with colleagues from the office.
The National Botanical Garden was far better than I expected. As I walked into it, I was immediately struck by the pleasant smell of plants, flowers, and invitingly humid air. Even though I only got to visit a third of the greenhouse, it is for me the new pinnacle of conservatories (deposing the Fort Wayne Botanical Garden, my previous benchmark). Unfortunately, Evelyn lost her black fleece hat here. If you’ve seen it, let me know; she misses it!