DC Area Art and Museums

The area is home to one of the strongest collections of visual art in the United States. Most museum's websites allow you to browse and/or search its Permanent Collection; to overview current, upcoming, and past Temporary Exhibitions; and to download a range of resource materials for classroom use, many now including audio & video podcasts and even twitters. Many institutions also host lectures, symposia, film series, and concerts.

Each link opens the museum's website in a new window.

ART MUSEUMS IN DC (alphabetical)

American Art Museum (Smithsonian)
American art, and lots of it.
Note: shares a website with the Renwick Gallery.

Corcoran Gallery of Art
Another fine collection of American Art, strongest in 19th century works. The gallery also has a smaller selection of European art from the Renaissance to the Present, including a complete 18th-century Beaux-Arts room and a medieval stained glass panel from Soissons.

Dumbarton Oaks Collection
World renowned collection of Byzantine art, and home to a strong collection of Pre-Columbian art. It also houses a smaller collection of European & American art.

Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian)
The area's premier collection of Non-Western art, including Egyptian, Ancient Near Eastern, Islamic and Asian art in the Freer, and the region's other collection of African & Afro-American art in the Sackler (see also the National Museum of African American Art). The galleries also have a smaller collection of medieval manuscripts & American art, including Whistler's Peacock Room.

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden (Smithsonian)
Modern European & American Art, primarily late 19th to 21st century.

The Kreeger Museum
The David & Carmen Kreeger collection of Modern European & American art from the late 19th to 21st century, plus examples of African & Asian art, all housed in a Philip Johnson house.

National Gallery of Art
One of the world’s premier collections of European Art & American art from the 14th to 20th century; smaller collections of Medieval art, decorative art, and Asian art. The NGA's collections are particularly strong in Italian Renaissance, Dutch & Flemish Baroque, and French Impressionist/Post Impressionist paintings, and that is only the start. This is also one of the best museum websites in the world for educational resources.

National Museum of African American Art (Smithsonian)
The area's premier collection of African and Afro-American art (be sure to check the Freer & Sackler Galleries as well).

National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian)
"One of the most extensive collections of Native American arts and artifacts in the world," or so says the NMAI website.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
Private vs. Smithsonian, and not yet 30 years old. It still boasts being "the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the contributions of women artists." Lucky for us; sad for the rest of the world.

National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian)
Just what the title says: portraits, all American all the time. The collection includes "the nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House", including the recently added Shepard Fairey Obama "Hope" poster.

Phillips Collection
Duncan Phillips's fine collection of European & American Art, opened to the public in 1921 and America's (the world's?) first museum devoted exclusively to Modern art. Also home to half of Jacob Lawrence's famous "Migration" series.

The Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian)
American crafts, as well as over 100 George Catlin portraits of Native Americans from the 19th century.
Note: shares a website with the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Baltimore Museum of Art
European and American art; Pre-Columbian & Native American art; African & Asian art. Also home to the Cone Collection, particularly strong in works by Matisse.

The Walters Art Museum
The strongest collection in the region next to the NGA, and even stronger in certain areas, particularly pre-Renaissance works. The Walters has the best Medieval collection in the area, with many spectacular objects and particularly strong in illuminated manuscripts. Also a fine selection Egyptian & Ancient Near Eastern art, European & American art, Pre-Columbian art, Asian art, and Islamic art. The closest thing this region has to an encyclopedic art collection.

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