Hill Rag Arts and Dining Special - Museum

At over 50' long, 20' high and weighing 6 tons, Spinosaurus is the largest discovered predatory dinosaur to roam the Earth. This dino’s extraordinary features include a crocodile-shaped skull and 7' spines forming a sail along its back. Through Apr. 12, 2015, encounter this bizarre predator for the first time at “Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of the Cretaceous” at the National Georgraphic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. In this exhibition, you explore a full-sized skeletal model as well as genuine dinosaur fossils and learn about the latest technologies modern paleontologists use. $7-$11. nationalgeographic.com


The Hirshhorn has to be the most under-appreciated art museum in the city. But inside it is one of the most contemplative places you'll ever encounter. In a world conditioned by the frantic, 24/7 flow of information and the ephemerality of digital media, many moving-image artists are countering these tendencies with works that emphasize slower, more meditative forms of perception. Days of Endless Time, Oct. 12-Apr 14, 2015, presents fourteen installations that offer prismatic vantage points into the suspension and attenuation of time or that create a sense of timelessness. Themes include escape, solitude, enchantment, and the thrall of nature. hirshhorn.si.edu


The John Paul II National Shrine has undergone a renovation. It officially reopens on Oct. 22 and features  an array of documents, relics and bits and pieces from the life of this extraordinary man. It is a glimpse into the life of a man who, along with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbechev, and Lech Walesa, is most responsible for the end of the Soviet Empire and, therefore, the end the cold war. Admission is free and visiting hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 3900 Harewood Rd. NE. Harewood Road is between the National Shrine and the parking lot. 202-635-5400. jp2shrine.org 


On the 400th anniversary of El Greco’s death, the National Gallery of Art presents an exhibition of his paintings, Nov. 2-Feb. 16. The exhibition includes 11 paintings from the Gallery and other Washington area collections. A selection of devotional works illustrates El Greco’s role as artist of the Counter-Reformation. El Greco was born in Crete and any visit to that island will have locals urging you to view the remains of his stone and brick home after which you can peruse El Greco relics and then order a moussaka lunch with a glass of retsina. nga.gov


“Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction” features 50 paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from approximately 1945 to 1975, by artists who were reinventing portraiture at a moment when most agreed that figuration was dead as a progressive art form. Artists such as Alice Neel, Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Beauford Delaney, Alex Katz, Romare Bearden, Fairfield Porter, Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol, along with lesser-known artists, pushed the boundaries of portrait traditions, reinterpreting human portrayal, reinventing portraiture for the next generation. On view through Jan. 11, 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Sts. NW. npg.si.edu

A life-size flesh replica of Spinosaurus is on display outside of National Geographic's headquarters in Washington, D.C. until Apr. 12, 2015. Photo: Mark Thiessen/National Geographic
Days of Endless Time at the Hirshhorn
The Shrine is tucked away on a quiet street near Catholic University. Photo: Kathleen Donner
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) - Saint Martin and the Beggar - Painting - Widener Collection - 1942.9.25
“Face Value” at National Portrait Gallery