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Galleries, Museums Exhibit Interest in Politics

Friday, January 14, 2005; Page WE30

Red-staters and blue-staters, unite. Now is the time for healing, not hurling insults.

As a balm for the battle-scarred, Washington's museums and galleries offer a timely array of mostly politically neutral exhibitions on the theme of inaugurations, presidents and politics. John Kerry's supporters might want to lick their wounds at the D.C. Jewish Community Center's left-leaning exhibition of Jules Feiffer cartoons. Others might be more comfortable in the nonpartisan glow of George Washington's Bible, on view at the National Archives.


A 1902 photo at the Presidential Pet Museum and Library shows Quentin Roosevelt, son of Theodore Roosevelt, with Jack, their terrier. ()1902 Frances B. Johnston, Presidential Pet Museum And Library)

THE ARCHIVES OF AMERICAN ART links art and politics with "The Artful Presidency: Selections From the Archives of American Art," an online exhibition focusing on images and documentation connecting American artists to presidents from Washington to Carter. The Web site includes such ephemera as a letter from contemporary folk artist Howard Finster illustrated with pictures of presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Harrison and Jackson. archivesofamericanart.si.edu/exhibits/presidents/presidents.htm.

THE D.C. JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER presents drawings, political and otherwise, by cartoonist Jules Feiffer in "Julz Rulz: Inside the Mind of Jules Feiffer" through Jan. 30. Open Sunday-Thursday 10 to 10; Fridays 10 to 4. Free. 1529 16th St. NW (Metro: Dupont Circle). 202-518-9400. www.dcjcc.org. Free.

THE DECATUR HOUSE looks at the relationships between former residents of the historical house on Lafayette Square and the presidents of their times in "First Neighbors: Decatur House Residents and the Presidents" through April 5. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 to 5; Sundays noon to 4. 1610 H St. NW (Metro: Farragut West). 202-842-0920. www.decaturhouse.org. Admission is by donation.

FUSEBOX, the edgy Logan Circle art gallery, is featuring "Francois Bucher: Television (An Address)" through Feb. 19. As part of the exhibition by the contemporary New York-based, French-Colombian artist, the gallery will present a live video feed on Thursday at 7. Speaking extemporaneously from Bogota, former Colombian president Ernesto Samper, once vilified by the American media for his alleged ties to drug traffickers, will confront the people of Washington. Open Tuesday-Thursday noon to 6; Fridays and Saturdays noon to 8. 1412 14th St. NW (Metro: Dupont Circle). 202-299-9220. www.fuseboxdc.com. Free.

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS features "I Do Solemnly Swear," a special inauguration-themed section of its long-term "American Treasures" exhibition, consisting of more than 60 items, including photographs, manuscripts, campaign posters, letters and inaugural speeches by presidents Jefferson, Jackson, Polk, Grant and Wilson, on view through April 30. Open Monday-Saturday 10 to 5. Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE (Metro: Capital South). 202-707-4604. www.loc.gov. Free.

THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES presents "The American Presidency: Photographic Treasures of the National Archives," a collection of presidential photographs from Buchanan through Clinton, through Feb. 21. On view through Jan. 25: the original Bible used by Washington and other presidents at their swearing-in ceremonies, along with the first and last pages of Washington's handwritten first inaugural address. On Tuesday at noon, there will be a 90-minute screening of archival films featuring presidential appearances throughout history. Open daily 10 to 5:30. Constitution Avenue at Ninth Street NW (Metro: Archives/Navy Memorial). 202-501-5000. www.nara.gov. Free.

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY is showing a printed copy of the Declaration of Independence once owned by George Washington's personal secretary through March 6. That artifact temporarily joins the museum's permanent exhibition "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden," which, along with "First Ladies: Political Role and Public Image" form the core of the museum's presidential-themed shows. Through Jan. 31, you can also view "Vote: The Machinery of Democracy," which examines the evolution of voting machines. Open daily 10 to 5:30. 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW (Metro: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle). 202-633-1000 (TDD: 202-357-1729). americanhistory.si.edu. Free.

THE PRESIDENTIAL PET MUSEUM AND LIBRARY, a small institution chronicling the history of presidents and their pets, is notable for its portrait of President Reagan's bouvier des Flandres dog, Lucky, crafted entirely from Lucky's own hair. Open daily from 1 to 4 by appointment during inauguration month (normally open by appointment only from April to November from 1 to 4 Tuesday-Sunday). Call 410-741-0904 or e-mail deewal1@aol.com. 1102 Wrighton Rd., Lothian, Md. www.presidentialpetmuseum.com. Free.

THE WOODROW WILSON HOUSE, President Wilson's home-turned-museum, displays such campaign ephemera as buttons, ribbons, donkey figurines, tickets and brochures in "Our Next President! Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorabilia From the Anthony W. Atkiss Collection" through Feb. 15. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 to 4. 2340 S St. NW (Metro: Dupont Circle). 2o2-387-4062. www.woodrowwilsonhouse.org. $5; $4 for seniors; $2.50 for students; free for children younger than 7.

-- Michael O'Sullivan


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