Must-see museum exhibits

This summer's general overcast forecast has left many students wondering how to fill up their spare time. For those who want to get out of their dorm rooms and apartments, there are many exhibitions on view downtown. Here are some to check out:

The National Gallery of Art

This comprehensive museum offers a new exhibit that shows off 29 of Frederic Remington's paintings. On view until July 13, the exhibit focuses on Remington's "Color of Night" phase, all of which demonstrate the modernism in his color, composition and tone. Some of these paintings haven't been seen in nearly 100 years.

Ideal for a walk on sunnier days, the Sculpture Garden is located next to the National Gallery of Art. This permanent exhibition contains unique sculptures by artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Joan Miro.

The National Air and Space Museum

The permanent exhibit, "Explore the Universe," is always a favorite for those touring the Mall. This exhibition investigates how old the universe is, how it was created and how large it is, among other things.

The National Museum of American History

This museum offers a very gripping, very emotional exhibit on the events of Sept. 11. Here, you are able to view actual artifacts from the sites, and can even record your own personal Sept. 11 story into a pay phone set up in the corner of the exhibition.

The Pop Culture section is also another favorite in the National Museum of American History. In this small corner exhibition, you can check out Dorothy's ruby slippers and Indiana Jones's leather jacket and fedora, along with several other cultural icons.

The Natural History Museum

Located alongside the other museums on the National Mall, this Smithsonian museum is a fun place to spend an afternoon. You can take a look at the world's largest diamond, the Hope Diamond, or walk through the comprehensive dinosaur exhibits. The museum also contains an IMAX Theater, where you can watch one of these three new films: "Bugs! In 3D," "PULSE: A Stomp Odyssey" and "Cirque du Soleil- Journey of Man."

The Spy Museum

If you're willing to wait in long lines, the newly opened and wildly popular Spy Museum contains just about anything you'd ever want to know about the field of espionage. One particularly popular exhibition, "School for Spies," allows museum-goers to look at over 200 gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, vehicles and technologies.

The National Zoo

And finally, if the weather permits, the National Zoo is an eternally popular way to spend a D.C. afternoon. Right now, the Giant Panda exhibit is drawing in crowds by the hundreds, but the gorilla house and wild cat exhibits also provide much excitement.

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