It was not difficult work. We had to go around to and modify the TCP/IP settings on every computer in the building so they could be migrated into a new domain. Fun, if you like repetitive tasks and cubicle farms. We were more or less done by 2 PM, at which point I sat around for another half hour or so before informing the project manager I was leaving. I could have stayed, on the chance that something might come up, but there were plenty of people there to do that.
Rather than go home right away, I went to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. A few weeks ago, I had seen a poster in a Metro station for The Sensuous and the Sacred, an exhibit of sacred bronze sculptures from India. Something about the image on the poster really grabbed my attention, so I'd been planning to check out the exhibition for some time, but I'd never gotten around to it. But this was the perfect opportunity, because I was already in Arlington, so the museum was only a couple of minutes away.
I was not disappointed. The sculptures were beautiful, and more interesting that most Christian art. I find a lot of Christian art to be kind of rigid and stuffy, but these Hindu sculptures were just the opposite: fluid and fun. And now I know much more about Hindu religious practices and the Chola Dynasty, which dominated southern India from the 9th through the 13th centuries. The only disappointing thing was that they weren't selling copies of the exhibition poster in the gallery shop, and their Shiva-as-Nataraj sculptures were both not as nice as the ones on display and absurdly expensive.
Afterwards, I walked next door to the National Museum of African Art. There was an exhibit there of photographs from Central Africa that I thought might be interesting. But it wasn't. I mean, it wasn't bad, but it didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, and the photographs were mostly in the form of postcards. The best of them were prints by a photographer named Casimir Zagourski, who dedicated his career to photographing the people and traditions of Central Africa. Unfortunately, my favorite of the photos does not appear to be online. Bah!