Washington D.C., the capital of the United States. The seat of power for all 50 states. A place known for creating laws, and nearly arguing bills to death. But the city is also so much more. It’s a hotbed for culture and art. Washington D.C. has many museums, most of which are free to the public, and a large majority of those museums are art-based. Here’s some that are definitely worth discovering:
- The Renwick Gallery
- National Gallery of Art
- National Portrait Gallery
- Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)
- National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA)
- Smithsonian - National Museum of African Art
The Renwick Gallery is known for its interesting and rotating art exhibitions. Some of which allow the viewer to experience the art. For example, a past exhibition from David Best (shown above), “allowed the viewer to walk into a temple made of intricately carved raw wood panels. The glowing sanctuary offered visitors a quiet place to reflect and pay tribute to lost loved ones. Wooden placards are provided for visitors to write a personal message and leave within the installation.” (Renwick website). Any student will immediately be intrigued by the amazing art the Renwick houses.
The National Gallery of Art has some of the most well-known names from around the world. Any Social Studies, Literature, Science, or Art teacher will find something here that will reflect back in their curriculum. Among some of the famous names are Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and many many more. The East Building of the National Gallery of Art also houses a large collection of modern and contemporary art.
The Hirshhorn is a leading voice of contemporary art and culture. Most people think of contemporary and modern art as being boring and not thought-provoking. Anyone with that opinion will immediately change it once they’ve visited the Hirshhorn. Each exhibition, whether larger-than-life or as small as a snail, is utterly astounding to view.
The National Portrait Gallery is home to paintings and photos of our nation's greatest leaders and our most normal citizens. It’s simultaneously a look into our past and our present through the lens of our people.
This Museum houses art that is American and only American. Although in comparison to other countries ours is rather young, our art has certainly made an impact on the global community. You can see some of the pieces that created new genres and themes that rippled throughout the world.
“The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts.”(NMWA website). Women’s contribution to society is undoubtedly important and yet, it isn’t always celebrated. This museum seeks to bridge that divide.
This is a celebration of African history and art. “Through its collections research facilities, state-of-the-art conservation lab, groundbreaking exhibitions, educational outreach and public programs, the museum has expanded the parameters of the field of African art history and presented to the public a rich diversity of artistic traditions from throughout continent.”(NMAA website).
Megan T - February 2020