Tag Archives: DC Museum

Giveaway! DREAM BIG in IMAX 3D at the National Air & Space Museum

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DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World is the latest film to grace the giant screen at the National Air & Space Museum. Promoting the E in STEM, the movie was produced to offer a fresh perspective on engineering, show the creativity and compassion of engineers, and inspire kids of all backgrounds to want to become engineers. From the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots to footbridges in Haiti to a solar car race across Australia, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and highlights how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. View the trailer here.

The kids and I recently caught a screening, and we all left impressed and inspired. I especially appreciated that it featured several women engineers and their accomplishments. There was mention at the beginning of an aim to get more little girls interested in STEM, which got Sasha’s attention. She actually said excitedly, “That’s me!” and was thoroughly engaged until the end. Owen was completely captivated and particularly fascinated by an engineer who works in Haiti building footbridges for needy communities. When the credits started rolling, he pulled off his 3D glasses and exclaimed, “That was awesome! I want to be an engineer!”

DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World in IMAX 3D opens at the National Air and Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater in Washington, DC, and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center’s Airbus IMAX Theater in Chantilly, VA on February 17, 2017. It’s rated G, and run time is 42 minutes. Tickets are $9/adult, $8/senior, $7.50/ages 2-12 and available online or at Box Office. You can also try to win a 4-Pack through the giveaway below!

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World at the National Air and Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater or the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center’s Airbus IMAX Theater, simply leave a comment below naming an engineering feat you find fascinating (a building, bridge, etc.). To be eligible, you must like KidFriendly DC on Facebook, and you can get an extra entry by entering there, too. This giveaway will run through February 23, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Smithsonian Enterprises, however, I only promote services, events, and programs that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under DC, Educational, Giveaway, Movies, Museums, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

“Explore! With the Portrait Gallery” in this New Activity Space for Children

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As my kids have gotten older, I’ve loved how the options for activities with them around the area have expanded profoundly. They understand more, engage more, do more, and generally enjoy more. Not only is it great for spending quality time with them, it also keeps this blog going. When people suggest that maybe my kids are outgrowing KFDC, I always want to respond (and sometimes actually do) with, “Whaaaat?!” Exploring new places and experiencing different adventures just keeps getting better. The kinds of things we do have changed, but the possibilities and activities themselves are so much greater.

But I digress. Because I do remember those days when Owen and Sasha were really little, when the selection of activities was more limited than it is now, especially for indoor play spaces, and even more so those with free admission.

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This is why the news of “Explore! With the Portrait Gallery” is so exciting. The exhibition opening at the National Portrait Gallery this Saturday, January 28, in partnership with Explore! Children’s Museum of Washington, DC, is the NPG’s first-ever space dedicated to children. Designed for ages 18 months to eight years old, the aim of the bilingual space is to expand kids’ experiences of portraiture by offering them related hands-on activities to answer questions such as “What is a portrait?” “How do I see myself?” and “How do others see me?”

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I got to get a sneak preview of the space and even see it in use as children from the Smithsonian Education Enrichment Center joined the event to “demo” the different play stations. The Explore! room isn’t huge, but the offerings within are pretty neat with several interactive activities that appeal to the intended age range. I saw this firsthand as the kids playing while I was there all seemed to be quite engaged and happy.

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The activities vary, highlighting portraiture in different ways. Visitors can trace each other’s silhouettes, as one person sits on stool in front of a light and another outlines their shadow.

Getting a tutorial in the strike a pose station

Getting a tutorial in the strike a pose station

Testing it out myself

Testing it out myself

Something kids on the older end of the range will like is the station that has them strike a pose for a projected video art piece. You sit in front of a video screen, press a button to snap a photo, then see it on the wall in a grid of many images.

Voila! There I am bottom right

Voila! There I am bottom right

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Little ones can experiment with expression and emotion by building faces out of illustrated blocks. There is also a felt board, where they can create faces and other designs with a variety of colorful stick-on pieces. And a cozy reading nook in the corner is a nice place to explore the books on hand.

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Both Kim Sajet, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, and Rhonda Buckley-Bishop, president and CEO for Explore! Children’s Museum, indicated that they were looking forward to seeing how the space would be received and enjoyed by guests as they launched. That would influence the direction of any new programs associated with the exhibition.

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A couple of painted portraits decorating the walls are a nice touch to maintain the museum feel. Of course, there are galleries full of art to see when you’re done playing in Explore! And a stop in the gorgeous Kogod Courtyard is always a must, too.

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Explore! with the Portrait Gallery” opens at the National Portrait Gallery on January 28, 2017. Hours will be Tuesday – Sunday, 11:30am – 6pm. Admission is free. I recommend checking out the tips and guidelines here before you go.


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Filed under Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Gradeschoolers, Indoor Play, Museums, Preschoolers, Toddlers, Weekdays, Weekend