Washington, DC: Bling at the Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum/research foundation in the world, welcomes 30 million museum-goers each year. Given the staggering numbers, it’s amazing its museums remain largely free. Not only are they conveniently gratis, but the bulk of the museums are also conveniently located within walking distance of each other in Washington, DC.

Mostly scattered around the National Mall, the Smithsonians are an example of one of the things the USA does well: museums. America is young; it may not boast the extensive history of Italy (one of my favorite countries) or the remnants of ancient wonders of the world like Turkey (another of my favorite countries), but it showcases what it does have in magnificent fashion. Take in the elephant in the room – literally; a pachyderm dominates the foyer of Natural History Museum.

 

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This is one of my favorite Smithsonians, and it’s huge! There’s so much to see here, so let’s peek into a small corner of this fabulous gem. Today’s focus: minerals, crystals, and precious stones. The museum may be fantastically free, but even more fantastic are the exhibits and the talented people who curate and create the exhibits. For example, check out these displays.

 


And then there are diamonds. 😍 Royal jewels, Harry Winstons, and other blindingly brilliant beauties make you wonder if diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend. (Times like these make me wish I didn’t rely solely on my phone for photographs.)

 

 

I wonder how long dazzling jewels have been objects of desire and fascination. There may not be an exhibition on that, but there is there is a rotating exhibit downstairs featuring the history of human evolution from our human-like ancestors 600,000 years ago, to our Neanderthal ancestors 200,000 years ago, to present-day populations.

 

 

Do you think Homo Erectus could have had a thing for jewels too? Maybe, maybe not. If the Hope Diamond existed at the time, it probably would have been highly coveted even then.

 

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Here’s to a weekend of hope, sparkly things, and life lived in all sorts of shapes and colors,
Caroline