One of the benefits of being in National Harbor is how close you are to Washington DC. Having been here before the focus of this visit was to have my friends see the highlights of DC but to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We took a tour via the Old Town trolley hop on and hop off. Spending two days in the area certainly does not allow you enough time to fully experience all the museums so we had to focus on our main interests.
Here we visited the Smithsonian Museum of African Art. Most of the exhibits are on levels underground part of the reason for that is to conserve the Enid Haupt gardens. The gardens occupy the space in front of the castle (original Smithsonian museum) and exhibit beautiful designs of floral arrangement. There are seats which allow for rest and or just enjoying the beauty of the surroundings. In the museum itself there are displays of many African artists from all over Africa both male and female. There are three levels and a store with lovely African pieces.
We were also able to admire a few pieces of the Asian art on the other side in the Sackler Museum..
Our next stop was at the Martin Luther King memorial quite impressive and so life like.
Our next stop was the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Be aware if you are visiting in the peak time (mainly summer months ) because of the high demand you will need to get passes to enter before 1pm after that you can walk in but might have to wait on a line. Fortunately for us we just walked in with no wait time. There is a food court maybe a little pricey but consider the venue. The main exhibits occupy three main floors representing the progress from slavery to present. There are videos and interactive presentations. There is a lot of reading and vast number of exhibits, therefore you should be prepared to spend an extensive amount of time and more than likely require several visits. Once you start you access the second and third floor by walking up the ramps.
As we were leaving one of the workers suggested that we visit the Contemplation Court, this we would not have wanted to miss. There is a waterfall in the center of the room with areas to sit and contemplate the experience of the exhibits. There are quotations of noted authors. This was definitely an atmosphere of reflection. We left with the idea we will return and felt we can appreciate the struggles and how far we have come. One of the exhibit that was extremely touching and well viewed is the Emmet Till exhibit, many remember the story of this young man lynched for whistling at a white woman and the fight his mom put up to bring his situation to light.
This museum is more impressive when up close rather than in pictures. There is a lattice like architecture.
In addition to our museum visits we had a chance to eat at the Ebbit Grill and at the same time able to view some of the plaques on the mile pathway on 15th street.
Although we could not visit all the points of interest we certainly got a good view of the wonderful architecture and the historical war monuments. Another visit is a possibility for sure.