Google Glass + Art @ National Portrait Gallery

When I see the opportunity to try out new technology, it’s not a hard sell to get me in line.  This weekend only at the National Portrait Gallery is a special piece that is pretty neat on it’s own, but you can put on Google Glasses for an interactive experience with the art.

Here is a little more on the art (excerpted from the National Portrait Gallery site):

Portrait of America, from David Datuna’s “Viewpoint of Billions” series, is a 12-foot multimedia American flag covered in hundreds of eyeglass lenses. Try on Google Glass and explore historical and contemporary figures from American culture embedded in the artwork. Videos and interactive experiences are activated by different images in the piece and by your voice!

After an hour and a half waiting in line, we geared-up and took advantage of our 3 minute viewing time.  When you put on the GG and look through the lenses on the art piece you can see little pictures and news clippings from various famous Americans (I saw JFK, Lady Gaga, George Washington…) with your own eye, and those photos trigger little videos to play through the GG (like a JFK campaign video, and a Lady Gaga performance clip).

Below are a few photos from the experience, unfortunately the last day it is in DC is today – but there are hopes (according to their PR rep I tried to BFF) to take the “show on the road” to other cities.



20140217-104039.jpg20140217-104002.jpg My only real gripe with the event is that 3 minutes was not nearly enough time to spend with the piece. It took about a minute to figure out the Google Glasses (probably more for those a little less tech-savvy). By the time I got into the groove with navigating the piece I was being shuffled out.

Read more about the piece and artist (and experience the art from those viewing it) by visiting the artist’s site 

The Building Museum Gift Shop

There’s something about a good gift shop that excites me more than any other type of shopping (and I like most shopping). DC certainly has a lot of them, and to be honest some are just better than the rest. I would actually give a Gold Medal to the Building Museum for their gift shop.

The Building Museum is on my “Off the Beaten Path” tour I give to visitors. It’s a is a museum of “architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning” and is honestly quite interesting (even for us non-engineers). The setup of the museum is perfect for stopping in to beat the heat (or the cold) – it’s wide open inside with separate rooms for each of their exhibits, so you can just pop into a couple, without needing to spend the entire afternoon in one spot.

I might go into it in a later post, but some of the highlights of the museum include a 3D model of the Washington, DC area – both pre and post swamp removal (long story) – and past exhibits using Legos, or about the design of parking garages.

Yes, this is one of those museums you might lose Kyle in. 20140215-144744.jpg




Speaking of Kyle, this particular visit to the Building Museum was only to pick up a couple gifts for him in the museum shop. Being a non-Smithsonian, I guess that the museum has the liberty to stock whatever they want and they stock some VERY good things for the engineer, green building enthusiast, travel lover, map lover, or architect in your life, from child to adult.  Since my husband falls into at least a few of those categories, it’s easy to get him a gift.







I mean, who doesn’t need some DC-map earrings and some ceramic Legos for their home?

Now hopefully someone comes to visit us soon so  I can have an excuse to actually visit more than the gift shop!


Our Neighborhood: Navy Yard

The shootings a couple weeks back at the Washington Navy Yard hit a little too close to home, literally. The shooting was at the Navy Yard base, which is a contained area in our neighborhood, a few blocks from our apartment.

Just the weekend before the shooting Amanda and I went around taking photos for her blog and some photos of the neighborhood.  The week after the shooting the Navy Band played in the park. Kyle and I went to watch and took some more photos of the park at dusk.

One of the largest parts of the neighborhood is the Department of Transportation. Along the walkways surrounding the buildings are little transportation features, my favorite is the waterfalls and little boats, but there are also old bicycles you can “ride” and various places for photo-ops.

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A main feature of the neighborhood is Yards Park, a new park along the river with great water features and a bridge that can’t help but be the centerpiece. The park is usually full of families and picnics, and on weekends there is often a band playing or an event.


All summer on this “boardwalk” space they had free yoga in the evenings twice a week. Imagine this space filled with about 50 yogis: DSC_0250

Rumor is, this will have some ice cream, pizza, and kayak rentals in by next summer:  DSC_0252DSC_0300DSC_0301DSC_0303
How cool is this bridge? IMG_2295


There is a trapeze school in our neighborhood as well. If you look closely in this photo you can see two people going in for a catch as they swing through the air.  Notice all of the construction going on – a lot of new buildings coming soon!


I love all of the old Navy buildings, they’re updating them and putting in restaurants and retail. It’s still pretty “up and coming” – hopefully we can stick around to enjoy all of the neighborhood changes across the next few years.

Oh, and I almost forgot – the main feature of the ‘hood – the National’s Stadium! It’s hard to say no to a game when     it’s literally a few blocks from my home. The day I took these photos, Amanda and I just happened upon tickets last minute and luckily they were right by my favorite player.

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