I fell in love with this museum as I transitioned from a magical year in Paris to my life back in D.C. Being surrounded by rich history and beauty on a daily basis made me realize that I never want to go back to a life without art in my everyday experience.
- Easy to get
- No charger
- Left handed use only
- Supports only Apple products
- Low storage
What if there was a place that could transport you through time, and all over the world, in just a few short hours? Such a place actually exists right here in D.C.—a place I often go to lose myself and soak up the aesthetic, history and culture of days gone by. The National Gallery of Art is my home away from home, and has taught me to slow down, look away from the screens of the modern world, and meet up with all my favorite European men — Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, just to name a few. The beauty of this gallery is not just in the art hanging on the walls or the cornucopia of flowers in the lobby, but the immeasurable education these works have given me on the broad strokes of life, and how I’d like to live my own.
Money Score: Excellent
For all the gallery offers, I’d happily pay admission to stroll through its cavernous halls. I’d pay more for this than any movie ticket, concert seats, or Backstreet Boys show. But the best part is I don’t have to. Since it’s in the Smithsonian family, the museum is 100 percent free. If I had to do the math, I’d say the return on investment is a zillion percent.
Consciousness Score: Excellent
It’s not every day that you can admire a wall of post-impressionist Van Gogh paintings in one room, and then casually enter a room displaying the romance and hedonism of French life depicted through the eyes of Fragonard. Well, actually, if you live in D.C. you literally can do that every day. And I suggest that you do. There is nothing like the enlightenment that comes with an afternoon of culture. No, not even the thrill of a Game of Thrones season finale.
‘All the Feels’ Score: Excellent
The Van Goghs on display here hit me in a deeply personal way. In fact, I love all the Impressionists, and this museum has an excellent collection. But, Van Gogh is by far my favorite. Maybe because he saw the world with so much color and passion, that the only conclusion we can come to about his worldview is madness. That unique perspective draws me in, and reminds me of my days living in France, visiting his old haunts in Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise. I even got to see two Van Gogh self-portraits within the same month. One at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and one here at the gallery. The difference is notable, and you can see in the one here he appears more gaunt and distorted, which speaks to me. When I came back to the States after a year abroad, I struggled to adjust. It was this museum, and more specifically, these Van Goghs that grounded me, and made me feel less like a shadow of myself.
Overall Score: Excellent
Here at Nav.it we try to use ‘Excellents’ sparingly. But, if this isn’t an ‘Excellent’, I don’t know what is. This is my favorite place in D.C., and the French collection is superb. The museum itself rivals those in Paris, and engages all my senses. The lobby is overflowing with foliage and fuchsia orchids that smell lovely, and add to the ambiance. My stress instantly melts away, and I’m no longer anchored to the trappings of my daily existence. If this sounds dramatic, please know that I am a theater major, and you’ll just have to deal with it.
The only downside to the gallery is it lacks an elegant watering hole. Sure, there are cafes, but you typically have to navigate strollers and hangry children, which can take you out of the moment. If I could sit down with a book and glass of wine at a posh bar in the center of a floral oasis, I’d be the happiest almost-Parisian in the States. Even better if this chic bar serves light fare, and the museum is open late-night. One night a month, Paris will keep their museums open all night, and it’s like a night club for the painfully cultured. I love it with all my heart.