National Portrait Gallery

Although I am fairly sure I visited the National Portrait Gallery many years ago, I’m counting a recent visit as a “new thing” since I have never gone sight seeing along with a business trip to Washington, DC.This week, I flew to DC for the National Housing Conference’s annual gala. I selected a flight arriving early afternoon to allow for travel delays. (I historically have delays flying to DC and would not fly there with myself if I did not have to…) This time, I travel on a gorgeous day and everything goes smoothly. I regroup after my travels and walk to the Portrait Gallery for a couple hours.I start at the F Street entrance and walk among the American Origins portraits, seeing early leaders like Benjamin Franklin. I move along to the Civil War and see Lincoln’s portrait and the Faces of Discord section. Then I walk upstairs through the modernism section to a special exhibit on silhouettes. A life size May Pole silhouette is amazing!Next I find myself in the Portraits of America’s Presidents. There is a line to see the newest Obama portrait of him sitting in a garden setting. I photograph other Presidential portraits. Next I walk through an early American section of liturgical art, western art and landscapes before taking another set of stairs to the third floor.The third floor has contemporary art and twentieth century Americans including Michelle Obama’s portrait (another line). This is such a beautiful building.I also go up to the third floor mezzanine for a feature of athletes entitled Champions and a feature of entertainers called Bravo!I finish back on the first floor with folk and self-taught art before exiting on G Street and returning to my hotel. I am blessed to have the combination of a beautiful day, two hours of free time and a hotel within walking distance of a wonderful free museum. I am also blessed to attend the National Housing Conference’s gala honoring housing visionaries. One of the honorees is Team Detroit and it is fun to see some of my Detroit colleagues awarded for their vision and hard work. Do you ever have the luxury of tour time during business trips?

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