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One Day at the Capitol

Our plan for Wednesday, September 27 was to travel into DC to visit the Museum of the Bible, the National Portrait Gallery and meet Karen's cousin Lucas Agnew for dinner. As per our plans we drove to the Greenbelt Metro Station (2 miles from the campground) and bought tickets for the 30 minute trip into the capitol. Upon arrival we walked first to the Museum of the Bible. That's a book that has endured for generations, been shared around the world, and is still the best-selling book of all time. Located in the heart of Washington, DC, Museum of the Bible's 430,000-square-foot building preserves an abundance of rare and fascinating artifacts. We wanted to see and experience 4,000 years of history shaped by the Bible through innovative and interactive exhibits.

We entered the Museum of the Bible, welcomed by the Gutenberg Gates. These one-of-a-kind, 40-foot-high brass gates contain the first lines from Genesis in Latin from a Gutenberg Bible. After purchasing our tickets we proceeded to the third floor. There we were immersed in the story of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament through a journey of dramatic displays, This floor also had a life-size walking exhibit of the town of Nazareth.

On Floor 4, we embarked on an exploration of the Bible through time, technology, and culture. There were over 600 rare and beautiful artifacts that mark the path from oral traditions and handwritten scrolls to universal access around the world.

After lunch at the Manna Cafe on the sixth floor, we headed to Floor 2, and examined the widespread impact of the Bible on fashion, music, movies, and culture worldwide. We learned about the unexpected influence of the Bible in the foundations of American government and culture in this Bible in America exhibit.

We spent about four hours in the museum and still didn't see every exhibit. This was an incredible experience that enriched our love of the Holy Bible. One of the highlights for me was talking with a Jewish Scribe who demonstrated the tradition of hand-writing copies of the Torah in the Hebrew tradition. He showed us a short video on the process and then asked us if we would like a bookmark with our Hebrew name inscribed on it by him. What I learned about my name was moving and inspirational.

We walked from the Bible Museum north across the Capitol Mall to the National Portrait Gallery. I've wanted to visit it since our first trip to DC about 24 years ago with our two sons. Back then, this gallery was unfortunately closed. With the impending government shutdown looming, I was hoping this time we would be able to get in. And Eureka we did! I finally got to see some of the inspirational portrait artists that influenced my knowledge of portrait lighting and posing I used when I had my own portrait photography studio. The gallery contained works by Gilbert Stuart and Samuel F.B. Morse which I got to exam up close and personal.

Gilbert Charles Stuart was an American painter from the Rhode Island Colony who is widely considered one of America's foremost portraitists. His best-known work is an unfinished portrait of George Washington, begun in 1796, which is sometimes referred to as the Athenaeum Portrait.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse was an American inventor and painter. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter in his middle ages, Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs.

We concluded our visit in DC at "The Smith" restaurant across the street from the National Portrait Gallery. It is located in the center of the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington DC and steps from the Capital One Arena, The Smith’s lively atmosphere is perfect for any occasion including dinner and drinks with Lucas! We enjoyed great conversation along with excellent entrees and dessert. With the evening wrapping up, Lucas walked us to the nearby Metro station and we got back to the truck in 20 minutes. This was lovely day and evening for sure!


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