Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

White Glove Test Exhibit, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

Before the winter weather arrived Monday, Chris and I visited the newly opened White Glove Test exhibit at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

White Glove Test photo 1

It’s a small exhibit of punk band fliers created and distributed during 1978 to 1994. I thought Chris would enjoy looking for fliers of shows he may have attended.

White Glove Test photo 5

He only found one — Big Black. But since most of the fliers don’t include years, he’s not entirely sure. There were several fliers of bands he recognized, like favorite Hüsker Dü.

I really liked the fliers created on notebook paper, like these:

White Glove Test 2

Here’s another favorite:

White Glove Test 3

Though a small collection, the exhibit is worth checking out. It’s open through April 6.

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National Museum of American History Museum, D.C.

The National Museum of American History is huge! We didn’t get to see everything that was there, including a large exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement. We only got to see a portion of it and many others because we only had about an hour and half to explore everything.

The most amazing and emotional artifact we saw was the Star-Spangled Banner. Yes, the actual flag Francis Scott Key saw and wrote about during the War of 1812. It was kept in a dark room, behind a glass. In the background, various renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” played, including Jimi Hendrix’s famous version.

We also saw an exhibit that featured gowns worn by several First Ladies. From inaugural gowns to campaign outfits, there were dresses to represent most of the former ladies. Chris was sweet and patient to let me spend a lot of time there browsing the different fabrics and styles and admiring how fashion has changed over the years.

We also spent a very long time in the exhibit about the evolution of the food culture in the U.S. It included a complete kitchen donated by Julie Child. The exhibit had a video that played snippets of Child’s cooking show on a loop. I sat through a couple before Chris poked me to move it along.

The transportation exhibit is ginormous. Chris said the exhibit was sprawling. I’m sure we didn’t finish seeing it all, though it was hard to tell. There seemed to be room after room of transportation artifacts. There were boats, school buses, trolleys, classic cars and trains.


There was an exhibit about Little Golden Books. It displayed many of the books published over the years. It was fun picking out the books I remembered reading, such as the “The Poky Little Puppy.”

I would definitely make the history museum a priority to revisit in the future. There was so much to see and we didn’t even get to peek into several of the exhibits, such as a maritime exhibit and history of Americans in war.

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National Gallery of Art, East Building

After our tour around Georgetown, we dropped Sidney off at the hotel and caught the Metro back to the National Mall area. Our first stop was the National Gallery of Art‘s East Building, which houses the modern art.

Beth and Matisse

There’s lots of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse pieces and other paintings and sculptures. There are also Andy Warhol pieces, mixed media and shadow boxes.

One gallery, located in the tower, also featured a contemporary artist — Kerry James Marshall. He deals with concepts of African American experiences. Marshall’s paintings are very colorful and many contain similar images, such as a red cross. His exhibit was one of my favorites at this museum.

Before we left, we checked out an exhibit called Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes on the mezzanine. It featured lots of beautiful costumes and films of Russian ballets. Lots of rich colors and textures.

I like Richmond’s modern art museum better. It has more contemporary and interesting pieces and I enjoyed it more. The national museum, however, should definitely be on your to-do list. It does contain many good pieces.

Free Museums!

On our Raleigh, N.C., visit we stopped at as many museums as possible. All free (except special exhibits).

North Carolina Museum of Art
My favorite pieces in the museum were photographs by Alex Sothpaintings and photographs by Page H. Laughlin and Pamela Pecchio and “Three Graces,” by Mickalene Thomas. The museum houses a wide range of pieces, from Ancient Egypt to Contemporary American. Definitely an art museum to check out.

This museum also has outdoor trails (from 1 mile to just over 2 miles in length) that wind through an open field and woods, showcasing various art pieces.

“The Conversationalist,” a piece by Chakaia Booker

“Whisper Bench,” a piece by Greensboro sculptor Jim Gallucci

North Carolina Museum of History
We did not get to spend much time in this museum, but enjoyed the few exhibits we did see. We started at the exploration and settlement of the New World by European colonists and made most of our way to the Civil Rights movement before needing to head back home.

Besides dates and facts one usually relates with history, the museum also offered a look into the cultural aspects of the various time periods — from agriculture and tools, to education and music. I wish we could have spent more time reading each sign and listening to recordings.

A sign at the history museum that Chris liked

Note: Lots of school groups visit the museum. So expect to share the space with youngins.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
This museum seems to appeal to kids and adults alike, which I like. There’s nothing worse to go into a museum looking to learn things but all the exhibits are dumbed down for grade school students. It makes you think you’re out of place. This museum seemed to have a nice balance of nice educational aspects for adults and then some interactive activities for kids. It strikes a good balance, which, I think, is hard to do.

There were lots of student running around. Literally. And it was very loud. So, be prepared during the school day to share the visit with lots of students from grade school up to middle school. Most of the teachers, and a few of the chaperons, tried to make sure their kids were behaving, not cutting in front of people and not running. But in many cases, there wasn’t much control over the kids.

Still the museum is worth the trip, though you may need to move more quickly than you’d like to get out of the way of large groups.

Butterfly in the conservation room at the natural sciences museum

So, if you’re in the Raleigh area, check out these state jewels. They are worth the gas and time to get there.

Fort Moultrie, S.C.

Fort Moultrie is part of the National Park Service and is an amazing relic of our history.

I loved walking around the fort, imagining what it must have been like to work as a soldier there during the years.

The current fort was built in the 1800s. Two other forts sat on the same site prior to the current structure. Interpretive signs point to the former fort locations and tell when they were built, how they were made and how they served us during that part of our history.

The site’s history spans from a log fort built in 1776 to WWII.

I’m not big on military-related historic sites, but this is definitely a must see.

Here’s some photos from our visit:

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Exchange and Provost, Charleston, S.C.

Our last stop on Charleston’s Museum Mile was the Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

To the right is our tour guide. An animontronic figurine is to the left.

The tour provides a lot of historic info about the city, pirates, George Washington’s visit and the city’s part in the American Revolution.

Down in the dungeon, you’ll find animontronic figurines that’ll tell stories about the prison and building. On the way to Charleston, we met a couple who used to volunteer as pirates and other characters at the Exchange. Now that the museum uses mechanical storytellers, there’s no need for real people, except for the lone tour guide.

This is a well with water and fake rats located in the dungeon.
It’s supposed to show the horrid conditions prisoners had to stay in.

I think that is unfortunate because it would be neat to talk with various people about the building and its history. I’m sure providing more than one volunteer would offer a greater depth of knowledge about the building than one tour guide and prerecorded machines could provide (though our guide was very knowledgeable).

Still, this is a good stop along the Museum Mile.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Nathaniel Russell House, Charleston, S.C.

The Nathaniel Russell House was the second stop on our tour down Charleston’s Museum Mile.

This is another merchant’s town home and is built in the Federalist style. We visited this home with combined admission to the Aiken-Rhett Home (see prior post).

Of course, like the Aiken-Rhett House, we were not allowed to take any photos inside. Though it was raining, we did get a couple photos of the gorgeous gardens behind the home.

It would not stop raining!

Another good stop along the Museum Mile.