If you are going to be in Washington DC sometime before Feb. 3, 2013, the "1001 Inventions" exhibit at the National Geographic Museum is not to be missed! It was named one of the “Best Touring Exhibition of the Year” for good reason. The multimedia exhibits that comprise “1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization” are a fascinating foray into the enormous number of scholarly discoveries, scientific inventions and technological innovations emanating from the Muslim world over the course of a thousand years, The exhibits are done in an interactive and hands-on way that not only appeals to kids but revitalizes the joy of learning for anyone of any age..
Hardly ever recognized or appreciated as emanating from the Muslim w, let alone talked about in American and European schools and media, these inventions and discoveries impact almost every aspect of modern life: travel; health and medicine; optics; architecture; anything and everything related to mathematics, algebra and geometry; astronomy and oceanography; chronology and time-keeping; hydraulics. It's astounding how much these scholars and scientists discovered and invented such a long time ago, when Europe was still in the Dark Ages.. They have made so much of the advanced civilization we take for granted in the modern world possible. I enjoyed the exhibit so much that I bought the book.
Entering the National Geographic Museum isn't free (unlike the Washington DC's public museums within the Smithsonian network, but it's very reasonable: $8 for adults; $6 for military and seniors; and $4 for kids. It's well worth it. Besides "1001 inventions" there are other marvelous photographic displays and other changing exhibits at the Museum.
Besides the abundant "food for thought," the National Geographic Museum's cafeteria is a great place to eat. The food is excellent, varied and as exotic as you want it to be. Besides a meal of the day with side dishes for about $7, and sandwiches and burgers for under $5, you'll find a wide variety of salads and hot entrees sold by weight. You'll also find imaginative and tasty soups and very eye-appealing pizza as a standby for fussy kids (or grownups). If you aren't visiting the exhibits at the Museum, I believe it possible to buy a cafeteria only pass from the Museum. There are a huge number of options for vegetarians and even for vegans. (There's also great emphasis in the cafeteria on sustainability in food production and environmental concern for recycling of disposable serving items that is an educational experience in and of itself.)
If you are visiting Washington DC, make sure the National Geographic Museum is on your itinerary. And make sure you arrive or leave hungry enough for a meal in the cafeteria before or after you viewing the exhibits... .
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