We Went “Under The Big Top” Then Checked Out the Portraits at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
It wasn’t quite the circus, and there wasn’t a huge tent with elephants and tigers dancing about, but we had a good time at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Under The Big Top nevertheless. We invited Alani; just before they opened the doors, a lady asked me if they were twins.
We were early, before much was going on, so the first order of business was the arts & crafts table. Funny how with some paper, crayons or markers and a glue stick, kids come up with and create just about anything we adults wouldn’t even think of. Alani made a flamingo. Najwa did something with frogs, lily pads and I’m still not sure what she made.
They did have an activity to make a cone-shaped hat, though.
Then there was the one carnival game, only one I saw anyway. Sometimes I get nervous with these games. They take precision, accuracy, some dumb luck and grace if you don’t win anything. Najwa is working on the first three. She struggles with the last one. Maybe I had her repeat “we win” too often when she was younger. Fortunately, she didn’t too bad.
Then came the performers. It was a simple act, just three performers, with a silly skit at first, then they wowed the kids with their show. I was even impressed. Good show.
On the way out, we stopped by the white board where kids were asked “What is your favorite circus act?” Najwa, writing a complete sentence for her answer as she was taught in school, chose clowns. Then proceeded to draw an example just in case someone didn’t know what a clown looked like.
And then someone else, interpreting the question a bit more adult-like than the kids, had an answer that seemed to get a chuckle out of all the adults…
Considering we were at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, we had to check out the works of art. If anything, to expose Najwa and Alani to museums, the artwork, and how to not make so much noise when others are taking in the art!
At first glance, I thought this portrait was of Michelle Obama. Instead, someone just as powerful. And whenever there’s anything to show the power of black women, I make sure Najwa gets exposed to it.
Within 48 hours, students were rioting outside their dorm, tossing bricks and bottles through her window. She went on to become an award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent who worked for media outlets such as New York Times, PBS, NPR, and CNN.
The next portrait wasn’t a woman. Not black. But had just as much of an impact in black history as anyone. Anyone who doesn’t know John Brown should Google him. Since his name is common, add Harpers Ferry to your search.
This piece of artwork, though, was my favorite. Najwa, who obviously was getting antsy to leave, has a bit too much Korean in her genes for hair like this.
We didn’t stay long. All three ladies were ready to leave, just when I was getting started. We’ll be back though.