Current Exhibits

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Annual Crèche Exhibit: The Wondrous Gift is Given
November 21, 2016–January 13, 2017

The Cathedral’s annual crèche exhibit features about 80 nativity scenes depicting the story of Jesus’ birth as interpreted by cultures and customs around the world, selected for display from the collection of over 800.

Donated by a former docent, the Cathedral’s collection includes miniatures, rare materials, and unusual depictions, as well as typical examples that might be found in one’s home.

Exhibit Details

Dates
November 21, 2016–January 13, 2017

Hours
Open during regular touring hours*.
M-F: 10 am–5 pm
Saturday: 10 am–4 pm
Sunday: 1–4 pm

*Please check calendar for touring interruptions.

Cost
Included with general sightseeing admission

Location
South Crypt Aisle (lower level)

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Holy City: A Pilgrimage of Sight
August 2016–January 2017

Holy City is a series of nine paintings representing the three Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. When displayed together, the panels create a work of art 9 x 12 feet.

Artist Brian Whelan created the piece for the Cathedral with a vision of unity among these faiths:

‘Although I have been to many Holy Cities around the world, these paintings do not depict any Holy City that exists in today’s world. This is my aspirational vision of what a Holy City looks like. Each of the canvases contain churches, mosques and synagogues, painted in brightplayful and colorful forms. An abstracted, disarming vision of cultural unity; living together in peace, acceptance and in harmony; a haven for the soul. The buildings rest in each others shadows, supported and uplifted by the buttress of each others faith. In this Holy City, hospitality would be offered to all pilgrims.

whelan upstairsSee more of Whelan’s work in the Pilgrim Observation Gallery (located on the 7th floor) during regular touring hours.

Please note, the Pilgrim Observation Gallery may close early due to special events. 


About the Artist

Brian Whelan grew up in London, of Irish parents. After his training at the Royal Academy of Arts, he lived and worked in the East Anglia area of England near the North Sea for over 25 years. Learn more about Brian at www.brianwhelan.co.uk.

Exhibit Details

Dates
August 2016–January 2017

Hours
Open during regular touring hours*.
M-F: 10 am–5 pm
Saturday: 10 am–4 pm
Sunday: 1–4 pm

*Please check calendar for touring interruptions.

Cost
Included with general sightseeing admission

Location
Nave (First level, north aisle)

Exhibit Gallery

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Though the Earth be Moved

Ongoing

Learn about the August 2011 earthquake that shook the National Cathedral and caused significant damage to the building. The earthquake, felt not only in Washington, DC, but also up and down the east coast of the United States, was a surprise to many.

This exhibit will show you how a small area in Virginia was known as having an increased likelihood of earthquakes, and will explain how this 5.8 magnitude quake was able to cause such damage to the Cathedral. See intricate stonework up close, which was damaged during the earthquake, including a gargoyle head and our “fallen angel,” and learn more about the design and structure of the world’s sixth-largest cathedral.

Earthquake Restoration

Learn more about the Cathedral’s progress in repairing and restoring since the earthquake.

Exhibit Details

Dates
Ongoing

Hours
Open during regular touring hours*.
M-F: 10 am–5 pm
Saturday: 10 am–4 pm
Sunday: 1–4 pm

*Please check calendar for touring interruptions. Pilgrim Observation Gallery may close early due to special events.

Cost
Included with general sightseeing admission

Location
Pilgrim Observation Gallery (West Towers, 7th floor)

Exhibit Gallery

Recently Closed Exhibits

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Carnival of the Animals

September 23, 2016–November 27, 2016
An exhibit of 8 bronze works displayed outside the Cathedral, adjacent to the west front. Inspired by Camille Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals”, artist Bjørn Skaarup crafted these pieces to exude a cheerful wit and whimsy that underscore the lighter side of human association with the animal kingdom. The animals represent human allegories based on their physical and spiritual traits, drawing on art history and poetry. The use of animals and especially the sense of whimsy both resonate strongly with existing imagery found both in the Cathedral’s fabric and in the longstanding traditions of cathedral imagery.

About the Artist
Bjørn Skaarup
served as artist in residence at the Danish National Museum from 1994 – 2004, prior to earning his Ph.D. in 2009, studying the work of Renaissance sculptors and also the art of large-scale bronze casting. His indoor and outdoor sculptures have been featured in exhibitions across the world, including at the Koldinghus Museum (Kolding, Denmark), the Museo Cenacolo di Ognissanti (Florence, Italy), the Hotel Cipriani (Venice, Italty), and a solo exhibition at the Bruce Museum (Greenwich, Connecticut). In 2015, the the Collectivité of St. Barth displayed a suite of his sculptures throughout the island.