Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC

4.2
The National Museum of African Art is an African art museum located in Washington, D.C., United States. The museum is one of nineteen under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum, which was started in 1964, was originally located at the Frederick Douglass House in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.In 1979 the museum was transferred over to the Smithsonian and relocated to the National Mall. It opened in its current location, as one of two institutions, constructed mostly underground, in the quadrangle complex behind the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Castle), in 1987. The other is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery for Asian art.HistoryIn 1964, Warren M. Robbins founded the Museum of African Art. It was a privately funded African art museum at the Frederick Douglass House, in Washington, D.C. Robbins owned the building. A former American Foreign Services officer, Robbins was the first museum director. The museum showcased traditional African art and had educational programs about African art and culture. The museum consisted of nine row homes with twelve galleries, a library and a small auditorium. Robbins, who collected African art while serving overseas, sought to "foster an understanding African art in the U.S." The museum grew to have an annual budget of $900,000. Robbins and staff approached the government in 1976 asking the Smithsonian Institution to acquire the museum.
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Smithsonian National Museum of African Art Reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • For a smithsonian it has a very poor collection. It's not just the collection that's poor either the signage is bad, the design of the building is bad, the map is bad. Clearly this area needs some new...  more »
  • I always stop here when in Washington. Not only are there excellent examples of tribal art, but also art my Contemporary African artists. I always marvel on what is on display.  more »
  • I had some time to kill in DC after attending a conference, so decided to pop in this smaller Smithsonian museum. The museum was cool, quiet, and relatively empty (in terms of visitors). I spent just ...  more »
Google
  • I finally got my first visit under my belt. A great place to visit on a hot summer's day. I spent most of my time with the Senses of Time exhibit, which closes on 18 Jan. 2018. There is a wonderful part where South Africans of various races are interviewed with their grandmothers and they discuss Apartheid and change in South Africa. My only issue was that one of the neighboring videos was way too loud in some portions and that caused me to miss some of what was said. I will be coming back because I feel like there is so much I missed. I will eat first and experience and a slow pace.
  • My first visit. A good place to be. I encourage everyone to visit
  • Great selection of artworks from Africa. I particularly enjoyed the sculptures. Fascinating masterpieces.
  • Really well organized museum. I love the subterranean layout of this building and how this building links to other museums.
  • Nice small museum. Better than expected 4 stars.

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