Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: I have chosen to continue my weekly blog posts sharing our recent adventures exploring America. Our family has been safely quarantined for over a month and we will continue to do so until it safe to head out on our next adventure. The travel tips and recommendations we share were current at the time of visitation in 2019-2020. We recommend helping our country (and world) by staying home and planning for future adventures. We hope these posts bring you inspiration and motivation to plan your next trip!

One of the oldest buildings in Washington DC and now a National Historic Landmark building, The Donald W. Reynold Center for American Art and Portraiture is home to both the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The complex first opened to the public in 1968 and completed renovations in the early 2000s. Both institutions, overseen by the Smithsonian Institute, are housed in the same complex. The Portrait Gallery has over 23,000 pieces of art in its collection and began officially commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H.W. Bush. The American Art Museum is home to one of the largest collection of American art in the world and includes The Luce Foundation Center for American Art, housed on the 3rd floor. The Luce collection has more than 3,000 pieces of art in mediums from paintings to sculptures to medals to jewelry.

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA

A New Yorker married to a Bostonian in the late 1860s, Isabella Stewart Gardner and her husband, John, travelled extensively and were inspired by the art they saw throughout the world. Gardner began collecting art and built a home, which she named Fenway Court, in Boston in the early 1900s. Today, all three floors of the Palace, as it is now referred to, are opened to the public, as part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Some of Gardner’s collection of 7500 pieces of art, 1500 books, and 7000 artifacts are on display throughout the Palace and the new Renzo Pino Wing, which houses a reception area and services, administrative offices, Calderwood Hall, Bertucci Education Studio, the Living Room, Cafe G, and museum store.

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Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts

Celebrating its 150th birthday in 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts is the 5th largest art museum in America. The museum owns over 450,000 pieces of art in its collection, which includes paintings, photography, prints, drawing, musical instruments, textiles, and jewelry.

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20 Indoor Places to Explore in New England in the Winter

New England is my home. I love it. Every trip I take outside New England is wonderful- and a wonderful reminder of how much I love where I grew up and where I now live with my family. New England is known for its beautiful beaches and ocean water in the summer, stunning foliage in the fall, countless places to ski and skate in the winter, and open spaces to enjoy the outdoors in the spring. However, if you’re prone to sunburns, frostbite, and allergies, consider these places to visit for plenty of indoor fun (and yes, they’re just as great in the summer too!)

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City Guide: 10 FREE Things to Do in Washington D.C.

There are hundreds of free things to do in Washington DC and this is NOT a comprehensive list. We frequently visit the nation’s capital to visit family and friends and love exploring the city. Over the past couple of visits, we have enjoyed visiting the following ten spots:

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10 Family Friendly Spots in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Known as “America’s oldest seaport”, Gloucester was the largest fishing port in America in the second half of the 19th century, and one of the top five ports in the world at that time. In addition to its contributions to the fishing industry, Gloucester also produced granite in nearby quarries as well as a thriving art community. Founded in 1623, the city is less than one hour north of Boston, directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Gloucester is one of four communities (Essex, Rockport, and Manchester-by-the-Sea are the other three communities) that make up the Cape Ann district.

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