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Museum Paper Essay Sample

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Museum Paper Essay Sample

Since antiquity, humans have expressed their culture, traditions, and heritage by the construction of physical structures and monuments for the achievement of social order and unity in the region. Additionally, humans have always used creative means and tools to design the environment, and such a practice propagated the term of architecture that now prevails in various contemporary fields of urban planning, landscape, and modern architecture. Like other fields and sectors, humans have developed significantly in architecture as well that can be noted in various monumental designs and buildings present in different parts of the globe. In this regard, the paper will identify and discuss significant aspects of one of the architectural buildings located in the USA, and will endeavor to compare it briefly with architectural monuments or buildings of medieval or ancient period.

            In specific, the paper has chosen one of the most extraordinary architectural icons of the USA: Washington National Cathedral that played a vital role as a church, seat of head bishop of the Episcopal Church, as well as burial and funeral site for US Presidents until now. One of the major characteristics of the Washington National Cathedral is its status of second largest cathedral in the country and sixth largest in the whole world. Research on the cathedral indicated that its establishment finished in installments, as it began in 1907, and after a long span of time, the construction of one of the favorite architectural buildings of America completed in the year 1990 (ASLA, 2006).

            Analysis of its architecture indicated that various designs in the Cathedral seem to be the outcome of influence from architectural designs of medieval or ancient Greek period. For instance, sharpened curves and carved stone decorations express similarities with architectural designs of Gothic period. In addition, three towers of the Cathedral support the abovementioned identification of its influence from Gothic architecture.

            Moreover, the Cathedral consists of various stone carvings near its entrances, and architects have used an Indiana limestone for the construction of most of the building structures. After walking some steps from the entrance, 40ft. wide Pilgrim Steps welcome every visitor in the Cathedral that gives a monarch-type experience to the visitors (ASLA, 2006). Although wood was used initially; however, contemporary renovation has replaced such wood structures with modern materials. In addition, The Jerusalem Altar is one of the most visited architectural icons of the Washington National Cathedral that consists of ten stones representing Ten Commandments of Moses (ASLA, 2006). In this regard, the Cathedral is not only an extraordinary emblem of architectural; however, portrays historical and cultural events in its various designs.

            Another historical event illustrated in the Cathedral is the Space Window that has been dedicated to honor first landing of man on the Moon. The Space Window is one of the two-hundred thousand glass windows in the Cathedral that enhance the outlook and presentation of the whole building. In addition, the Cathedral pays tribute to some of the national personalities in an architectural manner. For instance, the Cathedral has statues of Washington and Lincoln that are the fundamental presenters of the USA (Washington Cathedral, 1995).

Moreover, floor of the narthex has been constructed in mosaic that illustrates seals of the state. Besides historical representation, architects of the Cathedral have focused merely on representing Christian symbols in most of the designs and structures of the building, as the Cathedral is a place of worship as well that offers four services every day, and the famous choirs of the Cathedral sing Evensong that augments the architectural presence of this amazing work of art. In this regard, the Washington National Cathedral has been a major platform of cultural and historical representations in the USA, and this is one of the reasons of Cathedral’s much popularity in the region, as well as around the globe.

            Another similarity between the Cathedral and Gothic architecture is errors in the building structures. Experts have indicated that notion of ‘Perfect God’ and ‘Imperfect humans’ was present in the Middle Ages, and at the time of Egyptians’ Pyramids, and similar notion can be observed in the Cathedral’s structures, as visitors can observe a number of irregular structures and designs notifying the existence of Perfect God in an artistically manner. Another representation of Gothic designs can be observed by analysis of crypt chapels that have been designed in transitional and Norman styles. In other words, it seems like architects of the Washington National Cathedral intentionally wanted to relate this iconic structure with previous churches and cathedrals, in order to relate it with ancient presence of Christianity in the Middle Ages (Washington Cathedral, 1995).

            A very interesting and astonishing feature of the Washington National Cathedral is placing of iniquitous sculpture of Darth Vader on northwest tower of the building. Besides, various gargoyles on the roof enhance the building’s architectural beauty in a simple manner. Conclusively, the paper has discussed some of the significant aspects of one of the exemplary architectural icons of the USA: the Washington National Cathedral, and attempted to compare it with some of the recognized features of Gothic architectural designs. It is hoped that the paper will be beneficial for students, teachers, and professionals in better understanding of the topic.


            ASLA. (2006). Landscape Architecture. American Society of Landscape Architects.

            Washington Cathedral. (1995). Washington National Cathedral. Pennsylvania State University Press.


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