Saturday, March 14, 2009


On we go to the National Museum of Natural History!

But first, I had a great evening on Friday.  I was taken out to U Street, the home of Washington's jazz scene.  We checked out a couple of places, but ended up at Cafe Nema, a cozy, relaxed little place with friendly staff.  There was a good selection of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Somali food.  Most importantly, the band was ablaze - so much energy - they played from the heart.  They're called the Young Lions and have played with Branford Marsalis.  It turns out we were sitting next to the previous mayor (Williams) and his friend, and they dedicated a song to him.

On Sunday, we're going to a desert music concert, so I'll tell you about that too.

Also, I now have my DC driver's license, and was able to use it mere hours later to get into a bar.  They shredded my NYC license in front of me and I said bye bye.  Back home, my roommate said, "Great, now you can drive the car you don't have!"

Actually, I plan to join Zipcars eventually.  Every neighborhood has a fair selection of cars, pickups, SUVs, cabriolets, or station wagons which you can find on a map.  You pay a small yearly fee ($50), receive a proximity card which opens the car you have booked online, and then pay a low hourly ($9-11) fee and can extend your booking via SMS text if needed.  Sounds awesome.  You can rent a Mini Cooper or even a BMW.


OK, are y'all ready to go to the museum now?  I think we can do this in one post.

The National Museum of Natural History

Ooh look, another rotunda!

There was the usual T rex skeleton in the great hall, and so on.  This little bird fossil was captivating.

There was a temporary exhibition on Africa.  Here two things from Ghana:  a front door, and a fancy coffin, which is like a status symbol.  This one is a KLM jumbo jet.

A plesiosaur and a giant turtle from the Pleistocene Era

Which natural history museum does not have a whale hall?  Here is an ugly bugger, called the Right Whale - because it really is the one that the Inuit whalers meant to catch.

Also, which whale hall does not have an outstanding feature?  This one was that all the wall friezes were video screens of underwater footage.

An amazing show, like that touchable flag display at the American History museum, here is the Story of Earth - projected onto a rotating globe.
Clockwise:  intro > earth's fiery gaseous volcanic birth > the names of the continental plates > following the minor ocean currents using rubber duckies, which as they continued became as tumultuous and water-swept as a van Gogh painting.  The narrator told the story of the development of life on earth, the effect of the water on climate, earthquakes and tsunamis, lightning strikes, hurricanes, volcanoes, the underwater canyons currently being mapped, Pangaea and Panthalassa...

Did you know it takes some of the deepest slowest currents nearly 1,000 years to circle the globe?

Emperor penguins sort of have fur
And a sealion gives a cheeky glance
The stuffed animals at the museum, not being 100 years old, all looked alive to me because their fur and feathers were so fresh.

In the Exploration and Discovery hall, a new species discovered at the Geothermal Vents in the deep sea:  the Yeti Crab, named after the abominable snowman.
The benches lining one wall were inset with nautical knots, a neat detail.

A special exhibition of hundreds of FRESH ORCHIDS detailing Darwin's study of orchid evolution.

North American Plains - a hare, a bison, and by the bison's back foot, a screaming rodent

I have always thought the South African Dik Dik was adorable.  It's hardly bigger than a jack russell terrier and it's teeny weeny hoofs are unreal.
The giraffe becomes one of the most graceless animals when drinking water.

A nectar sipping bat

The gorgeous Arctic Fox in camouflage

It's a good thing my phonecam battery ran out before the Gems and Minerals hall because I would have tried to show you those too.  Had a look at the Hope Diamond and lots of touchable rocks.


steve on the slow train said...

Beautiful photography as usual.

In 1973 the whales and stuffed animals were there, along with many of the fossils. Obviously not the Yeti Crab. There was an anthropological section then, and I remember Kathleen complaining that its displays of human abnormalities depicted only non-European people. I hope that's changed.

Glo said...

Another fascinatingly interesting post, Liv! The jazz bar sounds fantastic ~ cozy and cool! Really enjoyed looking at your photos of the museum and your informative write-up. I learned a lot! I think the squealing rodent is frozen with terror, and wants out ;) The Arctic Fox photo is particularly appealing. As I said, fascinating stuff and how fortunate that such exhibits are available ~ and that you take the time to share your visits with us. Thanks, Liv :)

Olivia said...

Steve - I didn't have a chance to visit the anthropology section. Our feet were hurting and we were hungry halfway through the gems, but obviously the upside to free museums is you don't have to put off going anytime you want.


Glo - I am almost afraid you all will burn out on the images and info I'm throwing at you every time! But I am so glad you are enjoying it all :)

Did you know that once upon a time I used to write imageless text posts that were actually quite short and introspective?


The rodent will be frozen with terror forever, it seems.
The fox is appealing, which is why I saved him for last. Everything else is pretty much in order.

michelle G said...

oh wow, If me and chad visit then we have to visit this museaum. Great post per usual.

take more adventures babe, I love hearing about them

Flighty said...

Well I for one certainly won't tire of your excellent, informative posts like this one! xx

nikkipolani said...

Gaaah! I missed seeing the Hope Diamond when I was last in D.C. It was closing time and I only got a quick glimpse of the really cool gems and minerals (like how impurities determine the color of some of these). I like that little bird fossil you've photographed. Like a mini roadrunner.

Selba said...

Cute animals in the museum....

natasha said...
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The Moody Minstrel said...

Uh oh, more spam...

Wow! Those fossils look like they're at least 6,000 years old!

Just when I thought I was impressed with the NASM...lover of animals, geology, etc. that I am I'd go nuts there.

So just what kind of food is Somali cuisine?

Olivia said...

Selby - I know, and I especially wanted to touch the sealion, the penguin, and the brown bear.


Minstrel - I guess it's time to institute the dreaded word verification...*sigh*

Would you believe I've actually run out of museums for the time being??

Olivia said...

Nikki - so many stand out for me - naturally occurring fluorescent colors - hot pink, bright orange, acid nature , who knew?