In 1826, Englishman James Smithson left $500,000 in his will to the US to increase and diffuse knowledge.  This was a strange bequest as he had never visited the US, nor did he have relatives there.  This seed money established the first Smithsonian Museum.  This has now grown to 19 museums, all of which are free for everyone to visit.

We enjoyed many of these museums – some in depth and some a quick look.  The first one was the Renwick Museum which was hosting an exhibit about Burning Man.  This showcased many enormous and innovative artworks created for this week-long event in Nevada that draws 70,000.

The American History Museum has a little of everything – Julia Childs’ actual kitchen, the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, an actual house, cars, trucks, trains, helicopter, and many small items.  It is of note that the Smithsonian has over 150 million items in storage!

The Hirshhorn Museum has contemporary art and sculpture – we don’t get it!

The Holocaust Museum is designed to look like an institutional prison-like building.  A sad and somber museum full of photos and accounts. We take no pictures ;-(

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