Ninja storm avoiding skills

21Aug11

Another good day in this nation’s capital, even with the severe thunderstorm warning. Went for a “brisk walk” this morning, then headed into the city to have a poke around Eastern Market. Bought some peaches and the  paper, headed across the road for lunch at Pound.

By this time the sky had turned an ominous shade of grey and my twitter feed was full of dire predictions from the Capital Weather Gang about flash floods and thunderstorms with hail, so I got back on the metro and headed to the American Art Museum. This was the view when I emerged at Gallery Place: storm ahoy! Managed to completely avoid the rain, and got to experience the huge storm in the glassed-in courtyard instead. Pretty cool to see the water running down over the ceiling.

The Museum’s got a new temporary exhibition, The Great American Hall of Wonders, all about “art, science, and invention in the nineteenth century.” Really excellent stuff – I love the American Art Museum because they include a liberal dose of history along with the art. The mechanical objects on display could’ve done with a bit more interpreting, but in general it was very well explained. My favourite item on display was a page from A Statistical Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth Census 1870, by Francis Walker. Just look at this beautiful chart! Mmm, statistics.

Edited to add: two reviews of the American Hall of Wonders exhibition, from the New York Times and the Washington Post. I agree with the Post that there is some “over reading” of the objects, but I agree with the Times’ description more: “an unusual and provocative collection”. Both reviews say that the catalogue is excellent, which is true, and why I bought it.

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