Frequently Asked Questions
The museum’s main building is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except December 25 when the museum is closed. Its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery, is currently closed for renovation, reopeing to the public on November 13, 2015. See Hours & Directions.
Admission is free.
The museum’s main building is located in the heart of the Penn Quarter, one of Washington, DC’s vibrant downtown neighborhoods, a few blocks north of the National Mall. The main entrance is at 8th and F Streets, NW. The Renwick Gallery, located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW, steps from the White House, currently is closed for renovation.
The museum’s main building is conveniently located above the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station (Red, Yellow and Green lines). The Renwick Gallery, currently closed for renovation, is near the Farragut North (Red line) and Farragut West (Blue and Orange lines) Metrorail stations. Metro hours, fare information, and maps are available at wmata.com. The DC Circulator bus also serves the museum’s neighborhoods. Hours, fare information and maps are available at dccirculator.com.
There are several paid parking lots and garages near the museum, and there is limited on-street parking at meters.
Barrier-free access for the museum’s main building is available at the 8th and G Street entrance. All areas of the building are served by elevators. Wheelchairs are available. Please ask the security officer stationed at the museum entrance about free wheelchair loans. The Renwick Gallery currently is closed for renovation.
Please help us protect our artworks by not smoking, eating, or drinking in the galleries. Suitcases, large umbrellas, and large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the galleries. Smaller backpacks and bags are permitted, at the discretion of the museum’s security officers, if they are hand-carried. Backpacks may not be worn on the back, but must be carried on the side, under the arm, or on the front of the body. These limitations help us protect the artworks from accidental damage.
Bag check is not offered, but free lockers are available at the main building only for smaller items. Bags, boxes, and packages may be inspected for security reasons upon entrance or exit. For additional information, see our Gallery & Photography Guidelines.
Yes, a self-check coat room located near the F Street Lobby at the museum’s main building, and free lockers are available for smaller items only (no suitcases).
In some galleries, but not all. Handheld photography and video for personal use are permitted in the permanent collection galleries, and in the Luce Foundation Center, but not in most of the special exhibitions or in the Lunder Conservation Center. Please check wall signage to confirm. No tripods are allowed. Commercial use must be pre-arranged with the museum’s Public Affairs Office.
For additional information, see our Gallery & Photography Guidelines.
The Courtyard Café is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Occasionally, the café will close early due to a special event.
You may bring your own food into the museum’s Kogod Courtyard; food and beverages are not permitted in the galleries. If you choose to eat in the Courtyard, please note that the tables in the Courtyard Café are for café patrons only. You may sit on the planters, at the tables and chairs at the west end of the space, or on the floor. Alcoholic beverages may be consumed only if purchased from the Courtyard Café. Please make sure that whatever food and/or beverages you bring in, including bottled water, are in sealed containers in a bag.
Visitors to the museum may not hold personal events in the Courtyard, such as birthday parties or group luncheons. Food platters, large coolers, and personal music are not permitted. Information about group food sales in the Courtyard Café is available as well.
Yes! Our store carries a wide variety of art-inspired gifts, graphics, jewelry, books, and more. Learn more: Museum Store.
Visit the Current, Upcoming and Traveling Exhibitions page for brief descriptions of what is on view.
Check the Calendar for information on what is happening at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on the day of your visit.
To schedule a docent-led group tour, including school groups, contact the Tour Scheduler at AmericanArtMuseumTours@si.edu or (202) 633-8550. School groups also can download a School Program Reservation Form. Guided tours require one month advance notice. Self-guided visits do not need a reservation, but we do appreciate them for groups larger than 20.
Pick up a hunt at the Luce Foundation Center information desk on the 3rd floor, or download Luce Center scavenger hunts online. Follow the clues to find specific artworks among the more than 3,000 objects on display. Get all of the answers correct and win a prize! Please let the Luce Center staff know if you plan to visit with a group larger than 10 people by emailing AmericanArtLuce@si.edu.
Check out the Highlights brochure [PDF] published by the museum.
Yes, free public wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) is available throughout the museum.
The four shallow pools, or water scrims, in the Kogod Courtyard may be turned off temporarily for maintenance, or to accommodate a special event or public program.
Learn more about visiting the Smithsonian American Art Museum, its Renwick Gallery, and other Smithsonian Institution museums on the main Smithsonian Web site.
Smithsonian Information: 202-633-1000
The Smithsonian American Art Museum shares its National Historic Landmark building with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Since October 2005, the two museums and their activities are known collectively as the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, named in honor of a generous gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The museums’ names remain the same, as does the building that houses the museums.
Contact information for various departments at the Museum is available online. To reach Lost and Found, call (202) 633-5630.
Guidelines for sending information to the Museum’s Curatorial Office (by mail only please) is available at the bottom of the New Acquisitions page of the website.