I had today off, so Andrew took it off as well, and we trekked downtown.
A few years ago Mushi and Jeff had stopped for a day on their way up to New York to see his family for the holidays, and we went down to see the White House Christmas tree. None of us had known about the “state trees”, though. These are smaller evergreen trees decorated with ornaments sent in by representatives of each state. I have pictures of the trees on Flickr. The pictures are roughly in alphabetical order by state, but I changed around some of the pictures to make the lay-out work better (some trees have two pictures, while others have just one — I wanted the trees with two pics to be side-by-side rather than on different lines).
The most interesting trees had ornaments that were hand-made. Some were obviously done by children, others by adults, but these were infinitely more interesting than obvious store-bought ornaments. States that submit ornaments that contain little scenes, or that are paper/ornaments arranged inside the big plastic holders should glue the scenes/papers in place — these ornaments are on the trees in the cold for a long time, and get jostled around. On some trees it was hard to imagine what the ornaments started out as. Also, to the parties submitting ornaments, I found that the trees that had bows added to the big plastic balls protecting the ornaments looked prettier. Those big plastic balls are kind of ugly and distracting, but by adding bows, they looked more like part of the tree instead of a necessary evil.
After warming up by the old Yule Log, we walked to the American History Museum for lunch, and the went quickly through the Castle, where there was a replica of the Arts & Industries Building made out of gingerbread.
Then we made our way to the African Art Museum. Neither of us had been there before, so we wanted to finally visit. They were between travelling exhibits, so we only got to see the permanent collections, but those were impressive. I quite liked the masks and the Art of the Personal Object. The architecture of the building itself was impressive. It is built into the ground, rather than upwards, so you descend to view the collections. There is a lovely fountain at the bottom in an atrium that is open all the way to the roof, with a sky light. We’ll likely visit again when they bring in new exhibits.