The Renwick Gallery presents the visitor with the unique opportunity to view breathtaking installations at a tranquil location that seems wholly unconcerned with the city surrounding it. There is nothing about the interior of this gallery that makes it apparent that you’re in the nation’s capital apart from the fact that the Renwick is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In a city where people take millions of photographs of the various attractions each year, this is especially important. The gallery provides a welcome differentiation for the tourists that have been photographing the numerous monuments and other landmarks found throughout the city. Truly, the Renwick offers something wholly original. Contrasting the granite busts and enormous limestone structures found in the rest of Washington, the artwork of the installation is intimate, and softer in both medium and message. Perhaps then, this is why it is so photographed. It is a welcome departure from the rest of D.C., and in a way, refreshing. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures not because it generates publicity for the installation (though it very much does), but rather because the Renwick offers patrons a different type of memory to take home. American history, government, and any of the other D.C. tourism clichés, are thankfully not present in the confines of the Renwick. Even the building itself seems out of place architecturally in comparison to it’s surroundings.
However, neither the exhibit, nor the building itself were the most striking features of the visit. Rather, the patrons stole the spotlight. While milling through the numerous people snapping photos of the exhibit, there was only one group that could be counted on to be actually enjoying the art rather than viewing it through a small LCD screen. The children at the Renwick held a look of bewilderment and amazement as they roamed the halls of this gallery. This observation resulted in the photograph below of two children mesmerized by the Wonder exhibit.