Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day at the Museum

First, the rest of yesterday.

I had a migraine, but went hiking with Fox and my mother anyway. There are a lot of walking, horse, and bike trails in Patuxent River Park, which we normally just use for the boat landing. We decided we wanted to see what else we could do when weather wasn't favorable for kayaking. We only covered a tiny bit of the trails available before it started to rain, but there are definitely more things we can do there. Yippie! My headache didn't go away until got up from bed at 0300 to take something and hope it allowed me to sleep. Too much overtime. And I'm going to do it all again.

Today, Fox and his wife and my mother and I were going to head into town and check out a museum or two. We had lunch at the Old Post Office (pictures of the Congressional Bells are on my website from the last time we were there) and then went to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (that's a mouthful!). I wanted to see the dinosaur bones and and the geology, gem, and mineral section. It had been a very long time since I was last there. The dinosaur bones were, well, meager. I did get a great shot of the T-Rex, and I had to explain to my companions that I didn't know why the Brontosaurus was now called an Apatosaurus. (Which, by the way, the Smithsonian does not have. They have a Diplodocus.) The answer is that the person who discovered the Apatosaurus discovered the Brontosaurus a few years later. Then further examination concluded they were the bones of the same species, therefore regulations dictate the first name to be the official name. Apatosaurus has been official since at least 1974. It's probably the anthropologist in me that likes the dinosaurs. :)

We wandered through the mammal section, which was pretty neat. Then we went up the stairs to the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals, featuring the Hope Diamond and a 127 lbs quartz crystal ball. I should have timed how long we were here. I know it was a long time! Two hours maybe. And then we spent at least half that in the exhibit gift shop. I spent more money than I should have, I admit, but I got a lot of rocks! I love rocks!

I'm going to try to go from memory here about what I bought. I will have pictures of some of the exhibit and probably what I bought too on my website shortly. Like, say, after all the overtime is over! ok, let's see. I got a mortar and pestle made of travertine (which is mostly calcite and aragonite, in some really beautiful orange shades), a raw dark opal, one piece each of blue, green, and orange calcite (the blue I've been wanted for ages, but I seem to be really drawn to the green one right now), a piece of smithsonite (discovered by the Smithsonian's founder), a couple ammonite fossil shells (not a mineral, but equally as nifty), a really beautify quartz cluster, an amethyst necklace, a small bag of tumbled stones (still working on identifying some of them), and a tiny Venus of Willendorf in goldstone (which isn't actually a stone, it's a man-made blend of copper and glass, other things can be added to make more colors). I feel like there was more, but...maybe not. Anyway, pictures soon™.

Then we went outside (it was about 75 degrees! In January!!!) and walked through the Smithsonian Castle, into the Ripley Center (poesy holders were pretty cool, but other than that, not much to see), and over to the Freer Gallery, which didn't have much to speak of except the Peacock Room and some Japanese screens. We didn't make it to the National Gallery of Art, which is what my mother wanted to see, because we had chosen the wrong museum (NGofA is not part of the Smithsonian's museums, for the record). That's ok, we're already making plans to go back next month, and that will be the first place we go (and maybe pop in to the NMNH mineral gift shop for some more rocks).

And that was my day! And then I have to work tomorrow. Nuts.

1 comment :

Willow Goldentree said...

I love my green calcite which is probably why you're so attached to yours right now. *wink* It sounds like you had a wonderful time! :-) I can't wait to see all your stones.