In the neighborhood: Part photography, part anthropology, “Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII” uses portraiture to examine religion, race, politics and the meaning of family. Through Feb. 24. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW (Metro: Farragut West). 202-639-1700. www.corcoran.org.
Museums for your holiday visitors: Where (and why) to take your family and friends
The know-it-all : Been there, done that. “Show me something I haven’t seen,” says this tough customer, who has been to every Washington museum, twice.
Safe bet: With its somewhat macabre display of body parts, the recently relocated National Museum of Health and Medicine is more than a museum novelty. It’s a sober-minded look at the history of science and medicine. 2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring (Metro: Forest Glen). 301-319-3300. www.medicalmuseum.mil.
Best bet: The Kreeger Museum is easily overlooked because it’s in a residential neighborhood. But it’s worth a trip. Now on view: “Dan Steinhilber: Marlin Underground,” a remarkable sound-and-sculpture installation featuring the “music” of such instruments as a space heater and a Ping-Pong table. You haven’t seen or heard anything like it. Through Dec. 29. 2401 Foxhall Rd. NW. 202-337-3050. www.kreegermuseum.org .
In the neighborhood: The American University Museum has six intriguing shows open, including one not-to-be-missed exhibition spotlighting the ingenious, almost magical sculpture of Matthew Kenyon. Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. 202-885-1300. www.american.
The kid: Younger than 18. Fidgety. Master of the sarcastic eye roll.
Best bet: Pack up the kids and head to Baltimore for “The Art of Storytelling: Lies, Enchantment, Humor and Truth.” Not only is the American Visionary Art Museum show a celebration of the overactive imagination, but the museum also boasts the best gift shop in the world. Through Sept. 1. 800 Key Hwy., Baltimore. 410-244-1900. www.avam.org.
Where to eat: Mr. Rain’s Fun House, on the top floor of the American Visionary Art Museum, doesn’t do chicken nuggets, but it does have three kinds of hot dogs.
The shutterbug: Owns more than one camera, not including smartphone. Sees the world through Instagram, Flickr.
Safe bet: At the Newseum, “The Eyes of History 2012” features more than 70 examples of 2011’s most arresting photojournalism from members of the White House News Photographers Association. Through March 29. 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 888-639-7386. www.newseum.org.
Most people think of contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei as a sculptor. And the 3-D works on view in “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” are jaw-dropping. But so are the photographs on display: roughly 8,000, including 7,677 in rotating view on 12 video monitors. You’ll also want to snap some of your own shots of the artist’s sculptures, which include the massive, chandelier-like “Cube Light.” Through Feb. 24. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue at Seventh Street SW. 202-633-1000. www.hirshhorn.
In the neighborhood: Pop over to the National Gallery of Art for “The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last 100 Years.” The group exhibition rounds up photographers who shoot the same subject, over and over, in interesting ways. Through Dec. 31.
More from the holiday guide: