Trip Planner:   USA  /  District of Columbia  /  Washington DC  /  Museums  /  National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC
(4.6/5 based on 2,200+ reviews on the web)
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery displays portraits of famous Americans. The gallery began with Charles Willson Peale's private collection of portraits, formerly called American Pantheon or Peale's Collection of Portraits of American Patriots. Since the gallery's inception in the 1960s, the collection has grown exponentially with acquisitions from around the world and a triennial portrait competition. Be sure to visit the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, an architectural marvel with a glass roof. By using our Washington DC travel itinerary maker, you can arrange your visit to National Portrait Gallery and other attractions in Washington DC.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The best part for me was the president's portraits... a snapshot in time for style, location, technique. 
  • nice quick view of the presidents portraits. Interesting facts in the adjacent explanation. Building is lovely and no charge 
  • What a great art museum. This beautiful art museum is loaded with famous historical portraits. All of these paintings are so realistic and captures the personality of each subject. A great section of ...  more »
Google
  • If you love art this is a beautiful place. It's amazing how much things change from when you're in the fifth grade on a field trip. The art and sculptures are behind glass so they can't be touched. Which is completely understandable. They have a lot of art split into little rooms per artist, or per era. It's easy to get lost but you can always find your way. They have a beautiful cafe/courtyard that's indoors. It has a glass ceiling that would be awesome to watch the rain or the stars. History can be a beautiful thing!
  • I would never have believed that this would be amongst my favourite museums in DC, but now I always make it a point of dropping in whenever I'm in town. The exhibits rotate frequently and they have a knack for featuring some of the greatest portrait photographer works. I've been fortunate enough to see Karsh and Irving Penn and numerous others. Take a guided tour if you have the opportunity as it really enhance the experience and provides a lot of insight beyond the artwork placard. Be sure to take a moment to enjoy the beautiful architecture and design of the Kogod courtyard.
  • Favorite of all of the D.C. museums. Best kept secret of the bunch. Not just a gallery of stuffy old politician portraits. This is actually two museums in one place. National Portrait Gallery AND The American Museum. Great approachable art from a variety of American Artist and a huge variety of types of art from of all races. Lots of women artist represented here too. Photo portraits of civil war generals. Especially like the on of Gen. Ambrose who led or misled the disastrous Battle of the Crater in Petersberg, Va. (Read about this it is fascinating) The building was a patent office, I think, then a civil war hospital and now a museum. You can see graffiti left from the civil war soldiers if you know where to look. Also modern art and labs for conservation of art where you can see artwork repaired. And right at the Gallery Place Metro stop
  • For the humanities aficionado, a wealth of US history information packaged in some of the most telling, enjoyable conveyances available, pictures, most of them worth way, way more then the standard thousand words each... Spectacular original paintings, historic photographs, sculpture, check for exciting temporary exhibits, too. World class curatorship. From a few pleasant hours for the casual visitor to a few fascinating days for the in depth goer.
  • This was actually a lot of fun for us. News, memories and history captured and presented in interesting and beautiful paintings, drawings, photography and other art forms. We even got a photo with the four women who have served on the supreme court. A quite enjoyable afternoon.