We actually got up and out of the house at a reasonable time today. The Government shutdown means uncertain opening of the museums for the rest of our stay.

Car to the city to the Hirshhorn Museum, not really that excited, but we were quickly impressed. It was full of cool, often massive, modern art installations. The building was like a James Bond Villain lair. Out the front was a car crushed by a giant rock hamster and a giant ceramic pumpkin. Our first inside installation was a series of sound and lights shaped by our fingerprints or heartbeats. Others were sculptures and multimedia paintings. We had to get a coffee in the lobby and sit at the large stump/glass tables.

We tried another couple of Art Galleries but they were shut for New Years Day.

We then went to the American Indian Museum and learnt a lot about the history of American Indians and also South America.

After lunch at Food Tucks (delicious chicken and tacos) we went looking for Scooters. The boy had been busting to ride the electric scooters we had seen all around the city. Unlocked by an app for $1, it took a few minutes to locate scooters for us all (through 3 different apps) but eventually we all got scooters and were scooting around the city at around 15 km/hr until the batteries ran out on one of them. Great fun.

We then went to have a look at the African American Museum expecting just to look at the cool building from the outside (although it is free, tickets are normally required to be booked months in advance). However with the Government shutdown doors were open to everyone today so we could come in. The exhibits were really powerful – a lift 3 levels below ground level starting with the history of slavery and then walking up walkways through the three levels through the centuries, including segregation (including a walkthrough train carriage segregated white and colored) and more recent challenges faced by African Americans, finishing by a large contemplation waterfall.

Another exhibit was about Oprah Winfrey, her upbringing, career and influence, with interesting memorabilia and footage.

There were other exhibits on community and culture that were also very interesting. A great day.

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