Thursday, July 5, 2007

What to Do On Your Lunch Break

The NPR offices in Washington have the advantage of being situated near a number of sights worth seeing. While you can't get too much done in an hour, here are a few museums and other attractions nearby.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery
Open every day from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The recently restored Reynolds Center houses both the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. Three floors of art to explore! Main entrance on F St. but you can also enter on G St. at 8th.

National Building Museum
Open Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free, $5 suggested donation
The building itself is an architectural gem, but the museum also houses exhibits devoted to architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning.

International Spy Museum
Open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., last admission at 6 p.m.
F St. between 8th and 9th Sts.
The secret world of espionage isn't so secret anymore.

Ford’s Theatre and Peterson House
Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
10th St between E and F
Operated by the National Park Service, you can pop in and see the site of Lincoln’s assassination in Ford’s Theatre or the room where he met his demise across the street at the Peterson House.

The Bead Museum
Open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
7th and D Sts.
This small museum “promotes cultural understanding through the interpretation of beads.” The collection includes a 38-foot timeline of beads and an exhibition featuring religious uses of beads. (“Beads are very big right now—anklets, necklaces, you name it.”)

And because I'm a library nerd:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library
Open M-Th 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., F-Sa 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
At 9th and G Sts.
The central branch of the DC Public Library system -- not the prettiest building around, but you can’t beat free books, movies and music!

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