Washington Area Museums

For museum lovers, Washington, DC is an excellent destination for a visit.  In addition to eleven Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall, other museums easily reachable from the Mayflower Hotel (the symposium headquarters) include the Renwick Gallery, National Building Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, and the Phillips Collection (to mention only a few).   Along with museums, Washington has federal facilities with free access and exhibits such as U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, the Library of Congress and the National Archives, in addition to outdoor sculptures and memorials such as the Lincoln, Jefferson, Vietnam Veteran’s, and Martin Luther King memorials.   Cultural venues include the Kennedy Center and many other performing arts venues such as Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Theatre J.  Washington’s many museums frequently host music performances.

Below, you’ll find ‘snapshots’ of some of Washington’s many museums (please check periodically as we will be updating the below list).

The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum foster the study of art, history and culture. Located in Foggy Bottom, the museums encompass more than 20,000 historic and contemporary textiles from around the world, plus nearly 1,000 documents, prints, books and maps of the Albert H. Small collection documenting the history of the nation’s capital. Founded in 1925, The Textile Museum became affiliated with GWU three years ago and relocated to a stunning new building on the campus custom-designed for its collection. Rotating exhibitions reflect the importance and richness of textiles throughout history from court, town, village and nomadic production throughout the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. A textile learning center provides hands-on opportunities for visitors and tour groups to explore the nature and structure of fibers, dyes and the many processes used to create textiles. The Small collection of Washingtoniana objects is housed in the 19th-century Woodhull House connected to The Textile Museum. A standing exhibition shows the depth and breadth of the collection, enhanced by guest shows from other institutions of materials related to the early history of Washington, D. C. Also part of the museums are the Jenkins Textile Library and the Small Study Center providing resources to scholars and visitors.

Linnea Hamer, Docent, Kreeger Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Kreeger Museum is one of Washington, DC’s must-see smaller museums. The building, designed by renowned modernist architect Philip Johnson in 1963 and completed in 1967, was the residence of Carmen and David Kreeger before opening as a museum in 1994. The collection encompasses 19th and 20th century paintings and sculpture, in addition to outstanding examples of traditional African and Asian art. Surrounded by a five-acre Sculpture Garden, The Kreeger Museum offers an inviting respite from the bustle of downtown Washington, DC.  Located in Northwest Washington, DC at 2401 Foxhall Road, the museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am-4pm and docent-led tours are offered daily.  Admission is waived for museum professionals and volunteers.  

David Weisz, Docent, Renwick Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Renwick Gallery, located just steps from the White House, has long been one of Washington's "hidden gems," but it is "hidden" no longer. Since re-opening in 2015 after a two-year renovation, this National Historic Landmark has hosted a number of spectacular and very popular exhibitions.

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