The Best Art Museums in Washington, DC.

The Best Art Museums in Washington, DC.

Are you a lover of paintings, sculptures, or any wall art, or decor? Do you like to visit art museums in your free time? If yes, you will enjoy these famous art museums in Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. is a must-see place if you love art.

It has Renwick Gallery and contains one of the world’s most inclusive and most significant collections of art from the colonial period up to the present. It has works of more than 7,000 artists in its collections.

The old Patent Office Building is usually where most exhibitions are held. On the other hand, The Renwick Gallery is where the craft-focused exhibitions take place.

The museum gives electronic resources to the public and schools through its national education program.

It started a traveling exhibition program in 1951 and continues to this day. It has seven online research databases with more than 500,000 American Sculpture and Painting inventories.

It has a collection of documents of more than 400,000 artworks in private and public collections worldwide. This extensive collection attracts a lot of visitors every year.

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National Gallery of Art, East Building Plaza

National Gallery of Art, East Building Plaza


The National Gallery of Art is composed of two buildings.

The East Wing was designed in 1978 by architect I.M. Pei of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with a modern look.

The West Wing with a Greek Revival structure was built in 1941 helmed by architect John Russell Pope.

The pedestrian plaza connecting the West Wing with the East Wing is a collaborative design by Dan Kelly and I.M. Pei.

The walkway from the West Wing entrance to the East Wing is made of cobblestone and includes Fourth Street unifying the area of the two buildings.

Kiley designed two rectangular groves of magnolias on each side of the plaza extending the symmetry of the west building frontage pointing towards the east.

The east plaza has a more open space. The east building contains a growing collection of contemporary and modern art. The renovation added 12,250 square feet to accommodate more space for exhibits.

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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm from Mondays to Sundays.

It is the national museum of contemporary and modern art its mission is to share art by offering inspiration, acknowledging history, and bringing people together.

This museum opened to the public in 1974 and was renovated in 1991 to make the space bigger, enlarge the area for landscape, make outdoor rooms for sculptures, and increase circulation.

Architect Gordon Bunshaft designed this museum with a concave cylindrical shape hoisted with four large columns.

It has a big fountain inside the central courtyard.

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Renwick Gallery

Renwick Gallery

It is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, Washington, DC.

It is a branch museum of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 1859, James Renwick, Jr. designed the building.

The building had three renovations done in 1967 and 1972. The most recent was in 2012 and finished in 2015 with Roger Chang as the head of the renovation team.

The renovation was a success overhauling the building and improving the visitor experience. In 2012 it had only 175,000 visitors, then it rose to 800,000 in 2015.

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The Philipps Collection

The Philipps Collection

The Phillips Collection is a museum founded by Duncan Phillips and Marjorie Acker Phillips.

It opened in 1921 and is the first museum of modern art located in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC.

Its architectural design is Georgian Revival. In 1960 a wing was added. A renovation in 1989 was made possible by the Japanese businessman Yasuhiro Goh who gave a $1.5 million gift.

The additional space was named the Goh Annex. In 2006, another renovation paved the way for the expansion of the museum.

The additional 30,000 square feet underground accommodated its collection, activities, audiences, and art. The added space is known as Sant Building with architect Arthur Cotton Moore at the helm.

The museum boasts a collection of works by Berenice Abbott, Gustave Courbet, Winslow Homer, Jacob Lawrence, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, El Greco, Arthur Dove, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Klee, Joan Miro, James McNeill Whistler, Augustus Vincent Tack, Claude Monet, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, and Pablo Picasso.

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Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

Hillwood Estate, Museums, & Gardens is a decorative art museum in Washington, D.C. famous for its Russian objects and arts.

It is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, a socialite, businesswoman, philanthropist, and collector.

The majority of the collection is from the House of Romanov with 18th and 19th-century French art, including Fabergé eggs.

Aside from that, it houses the nation’s outstanding orchid collections. It is a mansion that became a museum with 13 acres of formal gardens.

It is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm and closed for several weeks in January, on some holidays, and Mondays. Hillwood Estate, Museums & Gardens is at 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW Washington, DC.

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Dumbarton Oaks Museum

Dumbarton Oaks Museum

Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss are the founders of Dumbarton Oaks Museum.

It is famous for its specialized collection of Pre-Columbian and Byzantine Art. The purchase of the property by the Blisses happened in 1920.

Eight years later, a music room was built to house their tapestries, belongings, and European furniture. It had a Renaissance design.

The music room showcased musical performances and was a venue for scholarly gatherings.

The inauguration of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection happened on November 1, 1940. The opening of the Byzantine Gallery occurred in the same year.

Philip Johnson designed the Pre-Columbian Gallery, and it opened in 1963. Completion of the Courtyard Gallery occurred in 1987, with two renovations in 2008 and 2016.

Dumbarton Oaks Museum is open from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm Tuesdays to Sundays and is closed during federal holidays.


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