Other Galleries and Museums
The following offers brief reviews of the rest of the museums and galleries of the Smithsonian currently located in the nation's capital.
The Anacostia Museum & Center for Afro American History & Culture
This museum of African-American social and cultural history focuses on Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Established in 1967, the Anacostia was the first federally funded neighborhood museum. Exhibitions have highlighted the work of local Southern artists, as well as African-American culture and heritage in all walks of life, including music, religion, and more. Hours are daily, 10
The Arts and Industries Building
This was the building where the Smithsonian collection was first shown, and it is a beautiful example of High Victorian architecture. The museum houses collections of American Victoriana, as well as crafts and special sociological exhibits of various peoples in America (Japanese-Americans in Hawaii, for instance). It is currently closed for renovation, so check before you make plans to visit.
The National Museum of the American Indian
This museum, opened in the fall of 2004, houses the impressive George Gustave Heye collection, which features thousands of North American Indian masterpieces such as baskets, blankets, clothing, pottery, stone carvings, and masks. There are also artifacts from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South American Indians. The museum is the result of a fifteen-year collaboration of various tribes and communities who designed the building, landscaping, and exhibits. It is located on the Mall, next to the National Air and Space Museum.
On July 1, 2006, after a six-year renovation project, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery reopened under one roof at the Donald W. Reynolds Center, a landmark building downtown, the former home of the Old Patent Office Building, the site of President Lincoln's second inaugural ball.
The National Portrait Gallery
Forget your preconceptions of a portrait gallery, this gallery's spankin' new quarters have made this incredible national treasure even more exciting than it was. Permanent exhibits feature Americans who have distinguished themselves in the performing arts, sports, and politics, using paintings, artifacts, memorabilia, and videos. The museum holds the only complete set of presidential portraits outside of the White House. Its impressive collection of daguerreotypes alone fills seventeen galleries and alcoves, and new galleries allow the showing of twentieth-century Americans.
The National Museum of American Art
One of the few museums in the world dedicated solely to American art, this permanent collection houses some great Colonial masterpieces, as well as the paintings that tell the story of our country. Visitors are introduced to the American experience on the first floor with some of Edward Hopper's iconographic paintings. Other galleries display folk art and American art through the 1940s.
The new building also houses a new way to experience art — the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, the first visible art storage and study center in Washington D.C. The kids (and you, too) will be fascinated visiting the Lunder Conservation Center, which allows the public a unique view of the preservation work that goes on behind the scenes of a museum.
The museum is open daily, 11:30