The Renwick Gallery
The Renwick Gallery opened in 1972 as the home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s craft and decorative art program. The collection, exhibition program and publications presented by the Renwick Gallery highlight the best craft objects and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present.
The Renwick Gallery is located steps from the White House in the heart of historic federal Washington. Its Second Empire-style building, a National Historic Landmark, was designed by architect James Renwick Jr. in 1859 and completed in 1874. For the past 40 years, the building has served as the nation’s premier site honoring the country’s best artists in their fields.
Temporary exhibitions of craft and decorative art are shown on the first floor. These special exhibitions highlighting contemporary artists as well as traditions in American craft open in the spring and fall. Selections from American Art's permanent collection of contemporary craft are displayed on a rotating basis in the second-floor galleries. Popular works include Larry Fuente's Game Fish and Wendell Castle's Ghost Clock. Paintings from the museum’s collection are on display in the Grand Salon, recreating the elegant setting of a 19th-century collector’s picture gallery.
DC's premier crafty hour, Handi-hour, takes place at the Renwick Gallery quarterly, with craft making, craft beer, and live music. Find out more here!
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Renovation of the Renwick Gallery Building
A major renovation of the Renwick Gallery is now in the design phase. The lead architects are Westlake Reed Leskosky, based in Cleveland, Ohio with offices in Washington, D.C. This project includes completely renewed infrastructure, enhanced historic features, and other upgrades that will make the National Historic Landmark building a 21st-century destination. An international design competition in 2013 invited selected interior designers, artists, and architects to envision the Grand Salon anew as a must-see attraction for contemporary audiences. The museum selected Applied Minds, an interdisciplinary company based in Los Angeles, as the winner for its technology solution that uses state-of-the-art high-definition projectors and audio speakers to create an immersive and interactive environment. The renovation will begin in early 2014 with plans to reopen the building in 2016. Funding for the renovation is a 50-50 public-private partnership.
The building will be closed to the public beginning December 9, 2013.