Perhaps more than any other organization in the world, the National Geographic Society, which is celebrating its 125th birthday, has brought us the wonders of the world. In my days of youth, they did it mostly through their magazine, wrapped in brown paper and full of the best travel photography around. Today, their delivery system still includes that monthly, as well as options from an array of media (resists "we never had that") and wonderful places like their museum in downtown D.C.
With temps nudging up to the 60-degree mark, we took in two exhibits there today. The first is "1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization." Suddenly, we were back in Tunisia and Oman, reliving the fascination of learning about the wonders of Islamic and Arabic culture and history. Children on field trips looked on in fascination too, an experience enhanced with interactive tools.
This is a popular and award-winning traveling exhibit and it’s easy to see why. A short film with actor Ben Kingsley is a good start.
Note: This exhibit ends Feb 3.
A few steps in the other room lies another fascinating world. “Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution,” is also a can’t miss presentation. Tim Laman and Edwin Scholes spent eight years observing and filming 39 species of birds in a remote rain forest in New Guinea.
One of their most rewarding moments came when they filmed a Arfak Astrapia male. Be sure and watch the film, which documents some of their work and this exotic bird’s behavior.
A word of warning, though, to this bird’s human counterparts. Your partner’s expectations of what constitutes impressive courting may be greater after they watch this bird in action...