As much as the ATM blog team enjoys keeping you up-to-date with the latest-and greatest-happenings around the Smithsonian Institution, we're equally excited when readers share their experiences with us— what exhibitions they've seen, which museums they've visited and what keeps bringing them back to the Mall again and again.
One such reader, Craig Fifer, recently shared the details of his "Smithsonian quest" with us, and we, in turn, share his story with you.
Craig Fifer, an employee with the nearby City of Alexandria, was visiting the "Norman Rockwell" exhibition in early January of this year at the Smithsonian American Art Museum when he had a thought. First, he marveled at how generous lenders are for sharing their works of art with the public and then he thought that having free museums was a gift that shouldn't be taken for granted.
"Since I was in a new year mindset at the time," he says, "I decided to make a resolution to visit all of the Smithsonian museums over the course of 2011." Living so close to Washington, D.C., Fifer, like most D.C.-area residents, hadn't taken full advantage of the Institution's proximity. So, in 2011, he decided to change that.
He invited friends to join him on his quest and they documented their jaunts. On Saturday, Fifer and crew (so far, he has 41 RSVPs) will wrap up the 20-site visit that has taken him and his friends up to New York and all Around the Mall, eight months ahead of schedule. So, if you happen to be at the National Zoo on Saturday, around 3 PM, stop by the Panda Cafe terrace (across from the zebra entrance) and you might catch the Questers having a belated birthday party for Fifer, who turned 33 on Wednesday. Hey, who says you can't be a kid again?
Fifer's three favorite sights on the trip were: the "Enterprise" space shuttle at the Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, the "Americans Now" exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery and the "Ghost Clock" at the Renwick Galley. He hopes that his Quest will encourage other readers to take in the sights, too.
Next up for Fifer? Why, more museums of course. "Once I complete the Smithsonian quest," he says, "I plan to work for the rest of the year on a new goal of visiting a total of 50 museums in 2011." Well, with such a good head start, that shouldn't be too hard.