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Posted at 2:40 PM ET, 07/19/2006

Where the AC Blows Freely All Day

By Julia Beizer

We might have gotten a break in the weather today, but the fact remains that it's going to be hot and humid all summer long. For decades, summer tourists have found respite from the heat in the city's museums. This year, a few chilly exhibits might help ease your pain.

The Sackler Gallery may just be one of the best places in town to beat the heat. Sunlight can't find the museum galleries, which are buried three floors below ground, so the space stays cool all summer long. The new exhibit "Facing East" is worth a visit. I confess that I wasn't totally fired up about seeing centuries upon centuries of Asian portraits, but I ended up falling for several works in the show -- particularly the contemporary photographs and computer-generated images.

Just across the Mall, the Natural History Museum offers up visions of snow in "Wondrous Cold," an exhibit featuring 50 photographs taken at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Snow may be appealing this time of year, but the science museum isn't going to let visitors off without a sobering word about global warming. Two exhibits in the museum's halls address climate change. Warming is also a hot topic at the Marian Koshland Science Center, which offers a completely interactive exhibit on the subject. I'm no science buff, but this show is a lot of fun to explore. Each lever and button shows you something new.

Global warming aside, when the temperatures get this hot, I usually just think about the beach. The Post's Jessica Dawson wrote about two beachy exhibits in her last Galleries Column: Renate Aler: Fixed Coordinate and a joint show by Joe White and Renee Butler at Osuna Art. If you can't get away to the seaside any time soon, these shows could take you there in spirit.

--Julia

By Julia Beizer  | July 19, 2006; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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