I almost forgot until I was cleaning off my phone that we attended the reopening of the Renwick Gallery on New Year's weekend.  This is the first building built specifically to be the nation's art museum. It used to house the Corcoran Gallery before the Corcoran moved to a larger space and when it was built in 1859, it was known as "the American Louvre".  Thank you Wikipedia.

It's been closed for renovations for a long time and I've been itching to get back in there.  This was a really cool reopening because while it was still closed, they invited artists to come tour the empty space and decide what they'd do with it and develop their art installations from empty inspiration.  The resulting exhibition is called "Wonder."  We loved it and highly encourage you to see it if you can because photos just don't do it justice. Just the same, here are some photos.  Also because it is a Smithsonian gallery and there's no admission fee.

We walked into this room and The Dormouse immediately named this artist without seeing anything about it.  I thought that was pretty impressive by any modern art lover's view because I know and love this stuff and still cannot name the artists' names hardly ever and also, where did she see his stuff before because I had only seen internet pictures of it.  Then she let it slip that there was a big feature on him in a past Highlights Magazine, so yay for kids' throw away reading material.  

The whole room was filled with these pods built entirely from twigs.  No good way to get a photo of the scope because the room was enclosed, you have to check out Patrick Dougherty's other works here.  The kids adored it.

 We probably spent more time looking at this installation than all the others combined. 

 It was fascinating from all angles and in all lights.

And with all patrons.

For scale:

This one, I just wanted to climb inside, but it was hanging from the ceiling and, I fear, not built for me weight.

This was maybe my favorite room.  All four walls were covered with this kind of stuff.  

Which, upon closer inspection...

I wanted to stay in here all day, it was so fascinating.  Even the paint on the walls was made from crushed bugs.

This last one was so interesting.  It was a reproduction of the energy wave from the 2011 Tsunami.  The lighting shifted every few seconds. We had to wait in line for awhile to get into the next exhibit and I just let the kids lie on the ground under this and stare up. 

If I were extremely rich, I'd pay good money to have a slumber party and let my kids invite all their friends to sleep under this one night.  Good thing for the Smithsonian we're not.