By George Kevin Jordan
The devastation of the 24 day old (at this reporting) government shutdown is growing and resources are dwindling for many D.C. residents. Fortune reported that the shutdown is costing the country about $3.7 billion. More than 800,000 people are affected personally with no income coming in to date.
And with no funds coming in, it makes finding a little distraction even more crucial to survival. However, one of the the District’s best features was the National Mall and their pletera of free museums and events, which are closed until the shutdown ends.
Thankfully there are a few places that offer a temporary, free or low cost respite for Washingtonians looking for an outing.
101 Independence Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-1600
Remarkably one of the oldest buildings in D.C. is federal, and is still open to the public. It has a list of events and exhibitions available to the public. For instance, there are hour-long walking tours, and gallery talks like the “Pan-African Congress of 1919” a discussion led from 11 a.m. to noon by Ryan Reft about this unique Congress led by NAACP founder W.E.B Du Bois. There are a ton of online and in person events to keep audiences engaged.
Speaking of Libraries, they are still open and offer up a smorgasbord of events. The AFRO covered the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. events. For more information please go to the libraries website https://www.dclibrary.org.
Yes, we understand the irony of visiting this building. But there is a lot of history, and opportunities to witness democracy at work. There are individual and family tours available where you can write letters to soldiers currently serving in the army and learn about Veterans Day. Also there is a current exhibition about Congress and the separation of powers running through March 2019.
100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001
Thankfully for the public, the US Botanic Gardens are funded for the year so it’s business as usual for the space which is normally open 7 days a week. If you are looking for something for the kids try the Garden’s Night Adventure at the US Gardens. This event is intended for children between 9-12 years of age. You can take flashlight tours and do science experiments.
Thankfully not run by the government, Politics and Prose has a few locations and several events and book signings to keep you and your children occupied. There are some costs associated with the events, however there is no cost to browse.
1600 21st Street NW Washington DC
Though it is a private museum this space offers a suggested donation admission Tuesday – Friday. The Museum has a variety of exhibitions on display as well as tours available. Currently on display is Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. The exhibit is a collection of 60 painting, showcasing the migration of African Americans from the south to Northern states. Lawrence was one of the first Black artists to be displayed in a major gallery in New York.
This article originally appeared in The Afro.