Monday, March 25, 2013

Presidential Tourist

I may have missed the Inauguration, but I still decided to embrace the cheesiness of the presidential memorabilia in DC.  First stop was the National Portrait Gallery's presidential portrait collection.

It's terrible how many presidents I had utterly forgotten.  With almost each portrait I saw I muttered a little "oh yeah.... forgot about him.  Ooops!"  My 11th Grade American History teacher would smack me upside the head.

It was interesting to the see the variation in portrait styles. From the classics

to the updated Pointillistic 

and the Abstract Expressionism-like brushwork of Elaine de Kooning. Personally I prefer this last one of JFK.  As much as the classic portraits portray power, prestige, etc, I like that the de Kooning offers something brighter and more accessible.

Next stop was the National Museum of American History.  Personally I was beyond smitten by the exhibit on the First Ladies.  There may or may not have been some squealing when I saw that it was a collection of their Inaugural gowns.... 
I could not believe I was so close to Jackie O's gown!  I had a very hard time containing my excitement.  My friend thought I was insane.  

And then the iconic triple-strand of pearls.  Again.... some desperately-contained squealing was involved.

Michelle Obama's gown was also stunning.  I loved the cascading details that shimmered as they caught the light.  

I've already forgotten to whom this ensemble belonged, but it was so simple and classic. 

I may have been the only person there swooning over dishes, but I couldn't get over the fact that my dishes are made by the same company as those chosen by the last handful of First Ladies.  Granted, I'm sure my Lennox Kate Spade set is no where near as extravagant as this set chosen by Nancy Reagan (note the iconic Reagan Red!).

The museum also contained a whole slew of presidential chotchkies, ranging from the gotta-have (like this Kennedys game.... where can I find this?!), to the unbelievably bizarre (like the framed collection of presidential hair).

I felt like I was experiencing history class all over again, but with a rare opportunity to see so many items up close to provide a real-life context for each president.  

Has any one else seen any swoon-worthy or super bizarre memorabilia?



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  2. The last gown belonged to Lady Bird Johnson. I recognized it right away!

    1. Oh, you're right! I couldn't for the life of remember, and it was bugging me oh-so-much. Thanks for the catch!