The Washington Times: American History Museum Innovation Wing and Other Weekend Picks

As I grow older (and see more of the world), museums like the Hirshhorn and the Freer/Sackler become more meaningful to me. But the Smithsonian’s American History Museum will always be my favorite. As a little girl, I loved seeing the First Ladies’ gowns and the massive trains and the Star-Spangled Banner, and while I know it’s touristy, it will always hold a special place for me. Now, I’m itching to revisit the museum of my youth as they are opening a brand new wing dedicated to American innovation. I’ve got the details on the ribbon-cutting events in my Washington Times column, available in the print edition, in PDF format, and below.

P.S. I’ve also been out of the loop on openings in D.C., because the owners of one of my favorite restaurants in the city (Cashion’s Eat Place) have opened a new spot in Columbia Heights with beachy fare like crabcakes, hot dogs, and snow cones! I’m starving!

The Washington Times Get Out: The Week’s Pocket Picks for June 26, 2015

By Samantha Sault

Pick of the Pack: Opening of the American History Museum’s Innovation Wing

After months of renovations, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History will reopen the first fl oor of the museum’s West Wing for exhibits focused on innovation, just in time for the country’s 239th birthday. The 45,000-square-foot area opens on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony with live music and DJs, and every day through the next week the museum will host living history presentations, docent-led tours, and hands-on activities. You can get a first look at new exhibits like “Inventing in America,” highlighting the pioneering work of Morse, Bell, and Edison, and “American Enterprise,” chronicling the impact of businesses and capitalism on American life from the 1700s to today. “Places of Invention” will showcase the development of Technicolor in Hollywood, hip-hop in the Bronx, and the personal computer in Silicon Valley, while the Gallery of Numismatics will explore the evolution of American money and the role of money in art and culture. Opening events Wednesday through July 5 at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 14th Street & Constitution Ave. NW. 202/633-1000. Web:

Mars, Incorporated funds American business exhibition at Smithsonian. Exhibition opens 2015 in the National Museum of American History. (Credit: National Museum of American History)

Mars, Incorporated funds American business exhibition at Smithsonian. Exhibition opens 2015 in the National Museum of American History. (Credit: National Museum of American History)

Dining: Alexandria Food & Wine Festival

We’ve always loved Alexandria’s cobblestoned streets, and now the city has become a foodie destination. On Saturday, you have a chance to try many of the area’s best restaurants and wines while enjoying a riverfront view. From 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., try Union Street Public House’s classic pub fare, Mason Social’s modern American cuisine, and Alexandria Cupcake’s award-winning Guinness Stout Cupcake, among other restaurants. Nearly a dozen Virginia wineries will also be available to taste, along with food trucks and other vendors. There will be a moon bounce and crafts for the little ones, plus rock and blues by Scott Ramminger and the CrawStickers as well as Gina DeSimone and the Moners. Saturday at Oronoco Bay Park, Alexandria, Va. Web:

Art: Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye

In 1875, Gustave Caillebotte submitted a painting to the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, but the esteemed institution rejected his work. However, Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir saw something in the young painter and encouraged him to try for the impressionist shows. Mr. Caillebotte’s unusually realistic depiction of shirtless workers finishing a floor caused a sensation, and kicked off his respected career that lasted until his death at age 46. Because he never sold his works, he’s not nearly as well known as his contemporaries, but his works deserve a look because, as he once wrote to Monet, “the very great artists attach you even more to life.” Beginning Sunday,you can get a chance when the National Gallery opens a comprehensive exhibit highlighting his impressionist works. The exhibit runs simultaneously with “Pleasure and Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael,” showcasing the Dutch artist’s risque scenes from mythology and bible stories. Through Oct. 4 at the National Gallery of Art, 6th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. 202/737-4215. Web:

Dining: Pop’s SeaBar Snow Cone Launch

This week, you don’t need to go any further than Columbia Heights for your favorite boardwalk-style foods. On Wednesday, Pop’s SeaBar, the seafood restaurant from the owners of Cashion’s Eat Place inspired by summers in New Jersey and St. Petersburg, Florida, will launch snow cones for the summer. Made with fresh, local fruits, the flavors include spearmint and lemon, strawberry and bing cherry — which can be infused with Novo Fogo Cachaca, El Dorado 8-year Aged Rum, Bulleit Bourbon, and Meletti Amaro for indulgers of-age. If you need another excuse for a snow cone, from July 1-7, the restaurant will donate $1 from every cone sold to Brainfood, a local nonprofi t devoted to helping high-school students develop life skills and healthy eating habits. Pop’s SeaBar, 1817 Columbia Rd. NW. 202/534-3933. Web:

© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC and Samantha Sault