Summer Museum Highlights for Families

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to head downtown and explore the museums with your family! There are many exhibits and events throughout the summer that will engage your family while learning something new. (21)

No Spectators: Art of Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery

Renwick Gallery’s current exhibition, No Spectators: Art of Burning Man shares many whimsical artworks from the annual Burning Man art festival. From moving mushrooms to scintillating shadows, there is sure to be something that your family will find fascinating. There’s also a fairly unique aspect of this show compared to most museum exhibitions – visitors are allowed to touch most of the artworks.

Extend It: Play with color, light and shadows! With a flashlight, create shadows with various objects. What objects make the most interesting shadows? If your child is older, cut paper into various shapes and see what shadows they create.

Alexander Hamilton: Soldier, Secretary, Icon at the National Postal Museum

If you have any Hamilton fans at home, then this exhibit is for you. The exhibit, on view until March 3, 2019, features original letters written by Alexander Hamilton. While you’re at the National Postal Museum, check out their permanent exhibit, Moving the Mail which highlights different vehicles that have carried the mail over the years.

Extend It: Practice writing letters of your own and mailing them! Choose a family member or friend (near or far) and write a letter to them. If your child is pre-literate, encourage them to draw a picture or dictate a letter. Choose a stamp, and deliver it to a local post office or mailbox together.


Blind Whino Southwest Arts Club

The Blind Whino Southwest Arts Club is an arts and cultural nonprofit located in South West DC. Originally a church, their building is completely painted by artist, Hense, whose colorful murals are perfect to spot colors, lines and shapes. Blind Whino also has an art annex with rotating exhibitions that are open to the public on Wednesdays from 4 PM to 8 PM and on Saturdays from 12 PM to 6 PM. Be sure to stop by before July first to see Le Bon Voyage: Across teh Omo Valley and take in the portraits, homes, and culture of the Surma people.

Extend It: Take a photo of your house or another familiar building. Print it out and trace the outline on a piece of construction paper. Encourage your child to paint your house’s outline in anyway they wish.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 

Head to the Mall between June 27 and July 8 (closed July 2 and 3) for the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year, the cultures of Armenia and Catalonia will be celebrated through performances, talks, workshops, and more! Check the schedule for specific times of various activities such as weaving carpets, making clay jewelry, and creating mosaic street art.

Bound to Amaze at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

You and your family will see books in a whole new light after visiting this exhibit, which opens July 20. The show features books that are more sculptural in design than average books.

Extend It: Create your own uniquely designed book. Use one of the techniques showcased in the exhibit, such as curling or pleating, to make your book one of a kind.

Endangered: From Glaciers to Reefs at the National Academy of Sciences

The Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences exhibit explores the relationship between art and science. Opening on August 15, Endangered: From Glaciers to Reefs will feature paintings and photographs by Diane Burko that document climate change.

Extend It: Gain an appreciation and respect for the glacier and coral reef environments by reading stories about animals that live in each (for example, North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dowson or On Kiki’s Reef by Carol L. Malnor), or researching more information about them. Look online to see what steps you can take to help these environments and make a family plan to implement one thing that will help the Earth.