Washington D.C.: the little-known city of museums

  If you say which museum is the best in the United States, many people will probably recommend the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Center… Indeed, they are all worthy of this title in terms of design and collection .
  But in my opinion, none of the above-mentioned museums are as attractive as those in the capital Washington. The museums in Washington are not superior in “quality”, but in “quantity”, so many that you will encounter one after walking a few steps. I have seen two sets of figures, one is that there are more than 70 museums in this city, and the other is that there are more than 200. The different numbers may be due to different statistical standards, but whether it is 70 or 200 is enough to show that it is more.
  It is not easy to visit these museums in detail. Some people have calculated that it will take at least ten years.
  These museums are mainly concentrated in the Washington National Mall and surrounding areas, most of which are free and open. Among them, the most famous is the National Museum of Nature and History, which is one of the most visited natural museums in the world, with a collection of more than 145 million items.
  Entering the gate of the National Museum of Nature and History, the first thing you see is a sculpture of an African elephant more than four meters high. Two elderly people in their 60s are sitting at the information desk to answer questions. Most of the people who came to ask questions were children, and the questions were all kinds of strange, but the old man was not bored at all.
  The first and second floors of the museum are full of large and small specimens. The “Star of Hope” gemstone on the second floor is the most popular, which is related to the weight of the gemstone at 45.52 carats and the legendary experience behind it. The children’s favorite exhibition hall is the dinosaur hall.
  The museum opened in 1910 is now more than 100 years old. It is not difficult to see that many equipments have aged and the paint on the walls has lost its former luster. But this obviously does not affect people’s interest, because there are not only rich exhibits, but also interesting people.
  During the visit, I met a security guard with a height of 1.9 meters and a beard. He deliberately pretended to be a motionless ancient guard hiding behind the door. Sometimes, when meeting visitors, he would make a surprise offensive gesture, scaring everyone into panic, and then laughing heartily. Seeing this scene, I can’t help but sigh that the boring museum can be so interesting.
  The second most popular in Washington is the National Air and Space Museum, which is located in the southeast of the city and receives more than 100,000 visitors a month. It is said that the museum received more than 10 million visitors in the first year of its opening, breaking the record of any museum in the United States at that time.
  The main hall of the museum is called “Milestones of Flight”. Various aircraft are either suspended from the ceiling of the hall or parked on the spacious ground. There are at least a hundred of them according to rough statistics.
  The Apollo lunar module, the “Chicago”, the first plane to fly around the world, and the plane invented by the Wright Brothers… are placed in conspicuous positions in the exhibition hall in turn. I have only seen photos of them in books, but now I see them in person, I am a little excited.
  In addition to local aircraft, there are also Japanese “Zero” fighters and British “Spitfire” fighters in the exhibition hall. At the end, when I was about to get visually fatigued, I suddenly saw the words “Flying Tigers” in Chinese. This showcase was the introduction of the American Flying Tigers in China during the Anti-Japanese War, which made people feel very cordial and refreshed.
  Another fascinating museum is the National Gallery, where people can see the authentic works of Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Monet, Gauguin and other masters. What’s even more rare is that there are no railings on the famous paintings in the exhibition hall, so they can be viewed from zero distance.
  The National Art Museum has relatively few people, so you can visit it quietly. There will be a bench in the center of many exhibition halls for visitors to rest or enjoy the paintings more comfortably.
  In addition to these world-class museums, Washington also has many special museums, such as the National Postal Museum, the International Spy Museum, the Women’s Art Museum, and the Children’s Museum. Unless someone admits that he is a person who has no interest in the world at all, there is always a museum that will suit your appetite.
  Washington has so many museums, thanks in large part to the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is one of the world’s largest museums, education and research complexes, with most of its 19 museums located in Washington.
  In addition to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington’s becoming a museum city is also related to the original plan.
  More than 200 years ago, at the beginning of the planning of the U.S. capital, an east-west boulevard was designed. It is located at the current location of the National Mall, and it is used as a reserved development site for the museum. Over time, museums have been built and increased in this area.
  As a city with only a quarter of the size of New York and a population of only about 700,000, many people question whether Washington has so many museums as a waste. Apparently, museum administrators are also aware of this problem.
  In order to make better use of resources, museums in Washington will unite with schools around the world to organize student learning experiences. Some popular pavilions and themed pavilions often hold national touring exhibitions. All major museums have launched “educational channels” on their official websites. In addition to collection materials, there are also courses and activities designed for students of different ages.
  Although Washington has so many museum resources, to be honest, the sense of presence is not very strong. After all, Washington, as the capital of the United States, people cast more eyes on political attractions such as the White House, Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial.
  In “Night at the Museum 2,” released in 2009, most of the scenes were set in museums in Washington. After the movie was released, the museums in Washington became really popular. However, in order to keep it popular for a longer period of time, the curators may need more tricks to spread the “scent of wine” farther.