Smithsonian Events Week of 5/18-22: Art, Gardens and Butterflies

Monday, May 18: Docent's Choice Tour

Take a little risk at the art gallery today and let the docent lead you wherever they will! Will it be America's President's exhibition? Will it be one of the special shows on display? You won't know until you come over here and enjoy the unexpected pleasures of the National Portrait Gallery. Free. Repeats daily. National Portrait Gallery, 1:00 PM

Tuesday, May 19: Mary Livingston Ripley Garden Tour

This time of year, I love spending my lunch hour in the gardens and enjoy the scenery. And since they're only in bloom for part of the year, I can't encourage you enough to come out and enjoy them too. What's more, is that a horticulturalist will be available to walk and talk you through the gardens so that—if you're like me and are totally ignorant about plant life—you can gain a heightened appreciation of the Smithsonian's fabulous flora. Free. Repeats every Tuesday at 2:00 PM and Wednesday at 1:00 PM until October 27, 2009, weather permitting. Hirshhorn Museum, 2 PM.

Wednesday, May 20: Art 21: Consumption

The last in a series of films that features interviews with contemporary artists will feature Barbara Kruger, Michael Ray Charles, Matthew Barney, Andrea Zittel, and Mel Chin. Free. American Art Museum, 6:00 PM

Thursday, May 21: The Grapes of Wrath

I love Steinbeck, but the Grapes of Wrath is one big honkin' novel to plow through. An amazing read, but it requires stamina. For those of you out there who have commitment issues—or for those who enjoy equally amazing cinematic experiences—check out John Ford's 1940 film adaptation. In the throes of the Great Depression, the Joad family is driven from their native Oklahoma and tries to survive an arduous journey to California, where they hope to rebuild their lives. And if the ending doesn't leave you with chills, please make sure you have a pulse. Free. American Art Museum, 6:00 PM

Friday, May 22: Butterfly Pavilion

Follow the butterflies at the Natural History Museum! Stroll the pavilion and enjoy a wide array of these exotic winged insects as well as eye-popping plants. Tickets required. Rates are: $6 for adults; $5.50 for seniors (60+); $5 for children (2 to 12); $5 for members. Tickets are available by phone at 202-633-4629 (IMAX) or 1-877-932-4629 (IMAX) (toll-free), in person at the Butterfly Pavilion Box Office or online. Natural History Museum, 10:15 AM-6:00 PM.

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