Why Visit National Museum of African Art in Washington DC

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The African Art Museum owned by the Smithsonian Institution is home to thousands of artworks from the African countries, which is also the highest publically held collection of such kind. The collections of the museum in Washington DC represents close to every African country tracing from the ancient times to the contemporary works of art. Each artwork in the present building epitomizes respective artists’ artistry across an array of field, including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, pottery, video art, jewelry, and mixed media.

Found during the 1960’s as a private institution, the museum first occupied a townhouse that was owned by a statesman named Frederick Douglass. It was in 1979 that it went on to become a Smithsonian property. In the 1980’s, the National Museum of African Art became its official name. It might be rare to find artworks from the African lands, especially in foreign countries, but the United States capital has a particular museum that covers mostly indigenous arts.

Much like most of the Smithsonian museums, this one is also free to visit and is separated into exhibit floors spanning thousands of square feet, a laboratory devoted to the conservation of artworks, photo archives, etc. Some of the highlights of National Museum of African Art, a must-visit place when on DC bus tours along the National Mall route, are as follows. Read on to enlighten your museum-hopping experience, especially with artworks of the indigenous or independent sort.

  • A gallery devoted to an art scholar from Africa, and former director of the museum, Sylvia H. Williams, is situated on sublevel one and displays contemporary artworks.
  • Rotating exhibits, which includes carved sculptures made up of wood and over 500 other works, which were collected by Paul Tishman and Ruth Tishman and is held here.
  • Some of the other galleries of the museum chronicle arts made up of various artistic media such as mosaic paintings from the African lands.

There are several ongoing exhibits, which tend to rotate from time to time, in the museum of African art, so do check out the present exhibitions as well prior to making a visit when on Washington DC bus tours. Since most of the free Smithsonian museums lineup along the way, explore the National Mall route to make the most of the trip.

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