So Much to Do in D.C. On Inauguration Theme

Posted January 12, 2009 at 4:31pm

People in the crowds descending on Washington for Inauguration Day may not get a chance to shake Barack Obama’s hand, but they will still be able to experience the plethora of cultural exhibitions being presented under the auspices of Cultural Tourism DC.

A nonprofit organization whose membership encompasses some 200 museums, art galleries, theaters and other cultural heritage institutions, Cultural Tourism DC has been working to show visitors the breadth of attractions the city offers.

Communications associate Courtney MacGregor said Cultural Tourism DC asked its constituent organizations to submit events and displays that would be featured Jan. 17-21. MacGregor said they have produced “some really creative connections.”

“There’s more to D.C. than just the Capitol building and Pennsylvania Avenue,” MacGregor said. “We’re a city of neighborhoods with a rich history.”

Rather than focus exclusively on the unprecedented nature of Obama’s ascension to office, MacGregor said members will place this inauguration in a larger historical landscape by presenting “anything relating to the presidency.”

Examples include an exhibition on Lincoln’s inaugural ball at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the installation of Obama alongside his waxen presidential compatriots at Madame Tussauds, and a day of dance and music performances at the Museum of the American Indian.

MacGregor said this inauguration has drawn intense international interest. Obama’s upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia and multicultural lineage make him a “global citizen,” and while campaigning abroad he drew massive crowds and enjoyed warm receptions from foreign leaders.

“What this is doing is really putting D.C. in a global context,” she said.

MacGregor said the events will have an added benefit of encouraging foot traffic and thereby reducing what is anticipated to be massive congestion on the Metro.