Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
(4.6/5 based on 1,100+ reviews on the web)
One of the world's premier art collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum displays the works of more than 7,000 different artists. Founded in 1829 as a part of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum--the first of its kind--documents artwork from the United States dating from the colonial era to the modern day. You'll find that the complex, within a building itself listed as a National Historic Landmark, serves as a world-class repository of pieces documenting the American experience over the centuries and reflecting the major artistic movements of each era. Of special note is its array of works by African American and Latino artists. Join one of the daily guided tours, during which you can get an introduction to the museum from a docent. Be sure to check the museum's website for information on the many traveling exhibitions, visiting artists, and temporary displays. It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to Smithsonian American Art Museum and many more Washington DC attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's Washington DC itinerary planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I love Bill Viola and he was showing his work while I visited my cousin in DC. We went to the "Portrait Museum" to see the show. Of course Bill Viola's show as amazing and I loved showing my cousin so...  more »
  • It is a fantastic Museum that if had the opportunity to return back it to visit, is a Museum of natural history that features animals, plants, fossils, rocks, minerals and human cultural objects.
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  • I love this museum, for its many and ever changing exhibits, the location just a block from the Metro, and the fact that, for some reason, it's never mobbed. The choices on this visit ran the gamut fr...  more »
Google
  • A good variety of paintings related to the beauty of America and its countryside. One half of it is the portrait gallery and the other half is more typical art pieces. Free entry. Not quite the Louvre, but a good gallery nonetheless. The highlight for me is the open seating area in the center. It has a lot of seats, is covered from the elements, and has some nice water features. Could definitely see it as a nice place to get some work done or read on a Saturday afternoon.
  • We felt like we had this amazing museum all to ourselves. It was less crowded, had a great collection of art, and the building was a work of art itself. I’m not sure if we got lucky or it’s because it’s a bit of a walk from the National Mall, but this museum was much less crowded than any around the National Mall. On top of that, most of the collections were top notch, especially the section with artwork of the Presidents of the United States. Make sure you see the casts of Lincoln’s face before he went into office and weeks before he was killed, the difference is shocking. While most of the exhibits were paintings, there are some spectacular sculptures scattered throughout all the exhibits. In addition to the artwork, the building itself is just as interesting as the artwork. The atrium in the middle of the museum is particularly breathtaking with large glass roof, foliage, and "waterfall" integrated into the floor that creates a tranquil oasis to relax with a cup of coffee or glass of wine at the small cafe tables. The American Museum of Art is well worth the walk or cab ride from the National Mall. Or, if you’re seeing a Shakespeare production at the Sidney Harman Hall or a game at Verizon Center, come into the city a little early and take a stroll around the museum.
  • The modern portraits are stunning and well worth the visit. Each varying so much and yet capturing such detail of human emotion. There's also a lot of WPA funded art and other points in history throughout the 1900s, 1800s and 1700s. The courtyard in the center of this museum is also a great, air conditioned spot to take a rest and enjoy the scenery.
  • When in America, look at American Art. Brilliant museum, and not just because it's open till 7 in the evening. The landscapes section was breathtaking. The special exhibitions were very nice when I visited, and it was a good place to go immediately after the national gallery of art.
  • This is a beautiful museum that is less crowded than the more popular ones but is still free. The staff is wonderful and helped me locate the pieces done by my great-great-grandfather. It's a museum that is perfect for spending a relaxing few hours or day in.