If a friend were to tell you she was off to visit our nation's capital for a week, what do you guess will be the seventh or eighth word she says, after her revelation? Or, for that matter, one of the next words you say?
We're pretty confident that word will be "Smithsonian." It's rare to hear of a Washington D.C. jaunt without the traveler speaking of the hallowed clutch of lofty 'n lively institutions that line the Mall like so many building-shaped beacons of history and art and culture.
But must the Smithsonian always stay put on the Mall?
Not during Museum Day Live! from Smithsonian Magazine. The annual go-gratis event observes its big decade anniversary this year, and while not every museum around the country will jump into the free fun on Saturday, Sept. 27, a number of spots around Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange County are participating.
Like? The Grammy Museum, in downtown LA. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum, which is based in San Pedro. Santa Paula's own California Oil Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa.
Those exhibit-packed places will not ask you for an entry fee, but you will be required to show a ticket, which you can procure through the Museum Day Live! site. Choosing one museum to visit, and a friend to visit with -- they get in free, too, through the downloaded ticket -- is key to the day.
Nope, the Mall in D.C. isn't up-and-going on a national tour; it's staying right where it is, thank you very much, as it has for a couple of stellar centuries now.
But the spirit of the Smithsonian, and Smithsonian Magazine, isn't tied to a single place. It's about culture and doing and seeing. And that we can stow our cash to do so makes it a mite sweeter.