Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery

The Reynolds Center, in the heart of downtown Washington DC, combines two museums in one: it houses both the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It has paintings, sculptures, photos, and drawings ranging from classical oil paintings to folk art to modern art.
Photo of Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum Interior Courtyard
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The Reynolds Center, in the heart of downtown Washington DC, combines two museums in one: it houses both the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It has paintings, sculptures, photos, and drawings ranging from classical oil paintings to folk art to modern art.

The building has undergone major renovations in recent years. In addition to sprucing up the gallery spaces, it included a major overhaul of the distinctive enclosed courtyard in the center of the building that provides a tranquil escape from the bustling streets outside. With its ribbed roof of glass covering what was once the exterior of the buildings, it’s reminiscent of the British Museum in London.

Photos of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery

Photo of Front of Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum at dusk

Photo of Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum Folk Art Exhibit

Photo of Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum Modern Art Exhibit

Photo of Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum Photography Exhibit

FDR bronze bust sculpture

Photo of Smithsonian American Art Museum American Experience Exhibit

Photo of Main entrance of Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Museum at dusk

Gwendolyn Brooks bronze bust in Smithsonian American Art Museum

Getting Here

The Reynolds Center is set back from the National Mall in the heart of downtown Washington DC. There’s some street parking nearby, but this is a busy part of town and finding a free park can be hard.

The Gallery is an easy walk from the National Mall, but the most convenient way to get there is by metro. The Gallery Place/Chinatown stop (Red, Yellow, and Green lines) is on the next block. Metro Center (Red, Orange, and Blue lines) and Archives/Navy Memorial (Orange, Blue, Yellow, and Green lines) stops are also nearby.

Official Website

Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture

For Photographers

Photographer Friendliness Rating

Cameras are allowed, but many of the galleries have “no photos” signs.

Photographers are likely to find the various photo galleries of interest. The Portrait Gallery often has a multi-room photography exhibit on the ground floor near the entrance.

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