I am a strong supporter of the idea that you should almost always take a lunch break. If I don’t have plans to eat with anybody, often times I go out for a walk, find a place to sit and read/people watch, or treat myself to ice cream or bubble tea. Then, I head back to the office and eat lunch at my desk. I try to postpone eating for as long as possible, so that the portion of the day after lunch is shorter than the morning. I believe breaks at work help relieve stress and increase productivity. Given these tendencies, I sometimes find myself wandering into the Renwick Gallery during my break. If you work within walking distance to the White House, I strongly suggest you spend a lunch or two exploring the Renwick Gallery.
After entering the building, there is a quick check of your bags and off you go exploring. As the closest museum to the White House, you would expect it to be fairly busy, but it’s not usually. The Renwick Gallery houses the craft collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Currently, only second floor is open as a new exhibit is being installed on the first floor. I love wandering through the rooms because I often am struck with thoughts similar to, “That’s made of what?” I really like the chandelier made up of lights that are in a constant random sequence and the 1.8 Renwick is entrancing to look at in the Grand Salon.
As far as public spaces go, it is a museum. In fact, it was the first building in the US that was built specifically to be an art museum and was inspired by the Louvre in Paris, which resulted in its nickname, “the American Louvre.” However, there are few large spaces that could serve multiple purposes. In particular, the Grand Salon is overtaken about 4 times a year by Handi-hour, which is a crafting event with beer, snacks, live music, and, of course, crafts. The event is $25 per person and sounds like something that will go on my Things To Do in DC list. Also, the Renwick strives to have visitors be active participants in the museum by encouraging people to take pictures and use social media while inside.
I think the museum has the potential to ramp up how many people visit by hosting more events within its spaces. However, it is a wonderful space to explore and marvel at the things that people are able to create from everyday objects as well as use turning everyday objects on their heads by constructing them using unique materials and techniques.