Skip to main content


@nittanypanda - Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery in Downtown - Free museum in Washington, DC

10 Exhibits to Check Out at Reopened Museums in Washington, DC

Safely reignite your museum exploration with these fascinating displays in the nation’s capital

With numerous DC museums reopening their doors over the last several weeks, many captivating exhibits that were on hold are now open to the public. Below, we’ve gathered displays that are sure to inspire you through story and dazzle you through creativity. We’ve made sure to include the safety guidelines of each museum; please make sure to maintain social distance and wear a face covering during any and all visits.


‘True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780-1870’ – Open through Nov. 15
Re-engage with this stunning exhibit when the National Gallery of Art’s West Building galleries begin to reopen on Oct. 26. Artists such as André Giroux, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Simon Denis and John Constable are featured in this exploration of the practice of painting en plein air. These avant-garde creatives would take painstaking journeys to incredible sites such as the ruins of Rome, the streets of Paris and the Swiss Alps to depict breathtaking landscapes. The exhibit offers roughly 100 oil sketches made outdoors all over Europe, including several recently discovered works.
11 a.m. – 4 p.m., daily |  Free timed passesSafety guidelines
National Gallery of Art, Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20565


‘Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition’ – Open through Jan. 3, 2021
With Riffs and Relations, the Phillips Collection examines the relationship between the work of 20th and 21st century African American artists and the European modernists of the early 20th century. The exhibit features pieces by Romare Bearden, Renee Cox, Norman Lewis, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Carrie Mae Weems and many others. Experience the complex influence of European modernist art on the work of black artists, a cross-cultural dialogue that makes for fascinating study.
Thursday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. |  Timed ticketsSafety guidelines
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009


‘Crystalline: A Submerge by ARTECHOUSE Experience’ – Open through Jan. 3, 2021
ARTECHOUSE closes out 2020 by focusing on Pantone’s Color of the Year: Classic Blue. This new exhibit dives into blue’s connection with earth, crystals and adventure through a wondrous castle. Expect a merging of the surreal and reality as you wander through the castle’s rooms, which will be filled with creative curiosities.
Monday – Thursday: 12-8 p.m. |  Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. |  TicketsSafety guidelines
ARTECHOUSE, 1238 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024


'Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature and Culture’ – Open through Jan. 3, 2021
Considered the most important naturalist of the 19th century, Alexander von Humboldt visited the U.S. for six weeks in 1804 and in the process, re-shaped American perceptions of nature. This exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum highlights the spectacular influence that Humboldt’s paintings, books and letters have had on American culture, from literature to politics to exploration to science.
Wednesday – Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. |  Free timed passesSafety guidelines
Smithsonian American Art Museum, F Street & 8th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


‘Paper Routes’ – Open through Jan. 18
This National Museum of Women in the Arts exhibit marks the sixth installment in the ‘Women to Watch’ series at the museum. Paper Routes showcases the ability of artists to use paper to create breathtaking installations, large and small. The exhibit is a collaboration between NMWA and 22 committees from the U.S. and around the world.
Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. |  Sunday: 12-5 p.m. | TicketsSafety guidelines
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005


‘Her Story: A Century of Women Writers’ – Open through Jan. 18, 2021
In honor of the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, the National Portrait Gallery presents this exhibit that showcases 24 of the most influential authors in American history. Across stories, poems and essays, these women defined and inspired generations of readers. Her Story includes portraits of Margaret Wise Brown, Alice Walker, Willa Cather and many, many more, detailing their accomplishments, backgrounds and incredible imaginations.
Wednesday – Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. |  Free timed passesSafety guidelines
National Portrait Gallery, 8th Street & G Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


‘Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020’ – Open through June 27, 2021
This nature-inspired exhibition features the work of artists Lauren Fensterstock, Timothy Horn, Debora Moore and Rowland Ricketts. The craft media displayed ranges from fiber to glass to mosaic to metals, representing the long-standing relationship between the artistic perspective and the natural world. All four artists were selected by a panel of experts on contemporary American art. Mark your calendar for an online conversation with Ricketts and exhibit curator Emily Zilber on Dec. 8.
Wednesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Free admission |  Safety guidelines
Renwick Gallery, 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006


‘Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces’ – Open through Oct. 18, 2021
This landmark exhibit officially announced the development of the National Native American Veterans Memorial, which opens to the public with a special virtual ceremony on Nov. 11. In Patriot Nations, the National Museum of the American Indian pays homage to the American Indian and Alaska Native men who have served our country through rarely seen photographs and artifacts. Visitors can reflect on the valor and sacrifice of these groups, from the Revolutionary War to the present day, through this stunning display and the breathtaking memorial just outside the museum.
Wednesday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Free timed passesSafety guidelines
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560


‘Girlhood (It’s Complicated)’ – Ongoing
The National Museum of American History crafted this 5,000-square-foot gallery that tells the amazing and extremely complicated story of growing up female in America. The exhibit is comprised of five story sections that cover a range of experiences and how the definition of “girlhood” has changed over time in the U.S. From Helen Keller to Naomi Wadler, Girlhood showcases the strength of females through interactive stories and custom murals and illustrations by artist Krystal Quiles. Free timed-entry passes are required to enter the museum.
Friday – Tuesday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Free timed passesSafety guidelines
Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560


'Sports: Leveling the Playing Field' – Ongoing
This exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture dives deep into the incredible contributions that African Americans have made to the realm of sports, both on and off the field, in a constant struggle for equality and recognition. The baseball portion of the exhibit highlights the accomplishments and appeal of Negro Leagues Baseball, as well as the biggest African American stars of the sport, complete with a statue of Jackie Robinson. The amazing accomplishments of Black Olympians, including Muhammad Ali, are also covered. Recently, the exhibit added Kobe Bryant’s #24 Lakers jersey from the 2008 NBA Finals in honor of the icon, a display that can be found in the basketball room.
Wednesday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Free timed passesSafety guidelines
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1400 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560

Partner Content
Partner Content