When the rain stopped we stepped out of the National Museum of Arts and walked through the adjoining Sculpture Garden on our way to the Museum of Natural History. The garden was beautiful with a large pond in the middle, and very quaint sculpture pieces. The 2-D / 3-D house by Lichtenstein was fun. So was the silver-painted tree.
The Museum of Natural History on the other hand was simply overwhelming. It was a whole universe by itself. From dinosaurs to butterflies , from Hope Diamond to Star of Asia Sapphire it’s all there. There were wonderful videos running in different nooks with benches to sit on and watch. There were the Insect Zoo, Hall of Mammals, Ocean Hall and so on. I chose to focus on the Hall of Human Origin instead – the human family tree, the evolution of tool-making, the size of the brains down the ages and things like that.
It was quite humbling to know that we are 98.8% genetically similar to chimpanzees , and if that was not bad enough, 60% genetically similar to bananas. I got the feeling that a proper, meditative look at all that is on display at the museum may be more helpful than the Upanishads or Rabindrasangeet in helping one make that cosmic connection.
- Washington DC National Museum of Arts