Lapse in Appropriat…e Behavior

Well, it really happened.

In a strange turn of circumstances, I am currently temping at a private company through mid-November while many friends and acquaintances with theoretically secure government jobs have been furloughed. (It is also important to note that in addition to the federal workers in the spotlight, many people who work for government contractors are also out of work, with virtually no hope of recovering lost wages.)

Several of my former workplaces made it into the shutdown news coverage. The last day of Capitol tours before the shutdown was eerie – visitors were encouraged by the orientation video to take pride in the legislative body that would keep the video from playing for anyone the next day. The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center – a school, for goodness’ sake – had to close its doors. At the National Zoo, the animals are still eating, but the panda cam is shuttered. The National Postal Museum just opened its new William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, and then had to close it, a story picked up by the Onion.

While federal museum workers are furloughed, other museums are rising to the occasion. They are continuing to welcome visitors, sometimes with helpful banners on their websites declaring, “We are open!” Some private museums are offering free or discounted admission, or special activities, to federal workers during the shutdown. Among these museums and cultural institutions are National Museum of Women in the Arts, 6th and I Historic Synagogue, and Tudor Place. (Please let me know of any other DC-area museums that should be added to this list!)

When I began Weekly Museum Visits, I had already visited the Smithsonian museums along the National Mall, the National Gallery of Art and the United States Botanic Garden, the Capitol and the White House, and various other government-funded museums in the DC area. Weekly Museum Visits brought me to places that were often smaller, or less well-known, or harder to reach by transit – and more likely to be private.

Below is the list of Weekly Museum Visits, updated to show what is currently open and closed. There were a few pleasant surprises in the list.

Weekly Museum Visits Part I (Summer 2010-Winter 2011)

  1. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
  2. American University Museum
  3. Art Museum of the Americas
  4. National Museum of Women in the Arts
  5. Folger Shakespeare Library
  6. Textile Museum
  7. Sumner School
  8. Cylburn Arboretum
  9. Phillips Collection
  10. Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens
  11. Meditation Museum
  12. Fondo del Sol
  13. International Spy Museum
  14. National Museum of Health and Medicine
  15. Artisphere
  16. Douglass House
  17. Bethune House
  18. National Electronics Museum
  19. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, and Historic Alexandria History Center and Museum Store (note: the History Center and Museum Store closed in 2012; the shop is now located in the Lyceum)
  20. Brookside Gardens
  21. Beall-Dawson House
  22. Los Angeles County Arboretum, Watts Towers, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Los Angeles Zoo, and Joshua Tree National Park
  23. Koshland Science Museum
  24. Arlington National Cemetery (note: Arlington House is closed)
  25. Ford’s Theater
  26. Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
  27. German American Heritage Museum
  28. Small Jewish Museum
  29. United States Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center
  30. Lyceum, Christ Church, and Friendship Firehouse Museum
  31. Howard University Museum

Weekly Museum Visits Part II (Summer 2011-Winter 2012)

  1. College Park Aviation Museum
  2. Sewall-Belmont House
  3. Dumbarton Oaks
  4. Carlyle House
  5. National Museum of American Jewish Military History
  6. General Federation of Women’s Clubs Headquarters
  7. Laogai Museum
  8. African American Civil War Memorial and Museum
  9. Baltimore Museum of Art
  10. United States National Arboretum
  11. Goddard Visitor Center
  12. National Museum of the United States Navy
  13. Tudor Place
  14. Wilson House (currently closed for maintenance, not related to government shutdown)
  15. Heurich House Museum
  16. Homewood Museum
  17. National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Visitor Center
  18. Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
  19. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
  20. Meridian International Center
  21. King Memorial

Weekly Museum Visits Part III (Fall 2012-May 2013)

  1. United States Institute of Peace
  2. Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
  3. Irvine Nature Center
  4. National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum
  5. Old Stone House
  6. President Lincoln’s Cottage
  7. Mount Vernon
  8. Riversdale
  9. Franciscan Monastery
  10. Washington Masonic Memorial
  11. Arts Club of Washington
  12. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum: Ellicott City Station
  13. District Architecture Center
  14. Lee-Fendall House
  15. House of the Temple
  16. National Museum of Language
  17. Bureau of Engraving and Printing
  18. Maryland Historical Society
  19. America’s Islamic Heritage Museum
  20. Voice of America
  21. Peirce Mill
  22. Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle
  23. Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington
  24. Bladensburg Waterfront Park
  25. Ellicott City Fire Station, Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, and Isaac Log Cabin
  26. Congressional Cemetery
  27. Octagon
  28. O Street Museum
  29. Library of Congress (Madison Building)

How has the shutdown affected your work, your leisure activities, your life?


About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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