Downtown at the Gallery


I heard that some friends were getting together in DC for a field trip at the National Portrait Gallery, and I asked if we could tag along. I’m so glad I did; it was fantastic. I love these organized friends I have!

This was probably one of my favorite field trips so far in our homeschooling. The museum was convenient to get to, and they offered us a private tour before opening the doors to the public. Personally, I’ve never looked into this kind of Smithsonian field trip, so the experience opened my eyes and got my juices flowing for trips in the near future.

I was pleasantly surprised that the Gallery (and other Smithsonian museums) offers programs for young children. Yesterday’s field trip focused on certain famous portraits of George Washington Carver, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Pocahontas, followed by a story and a craft in their educational room. I had no idea they had an educational room. 🙂

Our group of 16 kids had a wonderful tour guide, and I enjoyed every minute of her talk because you could tell she loved her job. History is my favorite subject since we’ve started using Sonlight, which is a literature-based approach. We’ve read a ton of books, fiction and non-fiction, about US History the past two years, and we are in the middle of learning about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. So, great timing!






The story was about Benjamin Franklin’s inventions and the book was an inspiration piece for their art project that followed. They were asked to think of symbols that related to Benjamin Franklin and include them in the design of their kite. Both my kids’ art showed a little of their unique way of learning: Mini drew two things Franklin invented, the bifocals and the Franklin stove and she continued to happily draw and color until the time was up. Max’s design had very little to do with the instructions he was given, yet his comedic creativity took over like usual. His idea was draw what would happen when Benjamin Franklin’s inventions failed. He’s out of the box, like always. Love that kid.

We had such a great time and made fun memories. After the museum, we walked to McDonald’s to get lunch for the kids, then walked a few blocks down to a Texas barbecue place (Hill Country Barbecue) for us moms. It was so yummy, and a favorite of my friend Lauren’s, who is from Dallas. She was so excited about taking us there for lunch!

Aren’t we lucky to be homeschooling near the Smithsonian and all the wonderful learning opportunities DC has to offer? I take it for granted, for sure. But hopefully, I’ll pay more attention to what’s available for us.

At least, I hope my friends do. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Downtown at the Gallery

  1. I’m so glad y’all tagged along too! How neat to have a personal tour guide not only take y’all around but share interesting tidbits–those are my favorite. Making a craft too? That seals the deal as a Great Outing! We missed seeing the Portrait Gallery on our trip a few years ago, will have to add it to our next one–maybe next year (squeal!).

    Also? I’m loving your rolled jeans and boots girl!

    1. Thanks for the compliment! Since I’m wearing scarves daily to cover up my scar as it heals, I looked around on blogs for inspiration in putting outfits together. I bought those jeans (they are Gap boyfriend) after Shay wrote about them (don’t you love her?)

      We loved the tidbits that were shared about each portrait. I didn’t know the story behind Ben Franklin’s portrait (the one of him on the $100 bill) was painted in France. He looked “casual” on purpose – button unbuttoned, hair was a mess, slouching – and the French loved him for it. Such a contrast to their way of life.

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