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Smithsonian American Art Museum

750 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

Attractions>Sight



The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home of the largest collection of American art in the world. Its holdings—over 37,500 works—represent the most inclusive collection of American art of any general museum today, reflecting the nation's ethnic, geographic, cultural, and religious diversity. The nation's first federal art collection, it predates the 1846 founding of the Smithsonian Institution. The Museum is located in the historic Old Patent Office Building in Washington, D.C., where inventors such as Thomas Edison obtained title to their work. The building also served as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Civil War, and in March 1865 it was the site of Lincoln's second inaugural ball. The museum's roots go deep, representing three hundred years of American artistic achievement and paralleling the nation's own cultural development. Today, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Helen Frankenthaler are among the familiar artists featured in the museum's galleries.


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Because the city was built from scratch, Washington's regular town plan is easy to grasp. Centered on Capitol Hill and its governmental monoliths, the District is divided into four quadrants - northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest. Dozens of broad avenues , all named after states, run diagonally across a standard grid of streets , meeting up at monumental traffic circles like Dupont Circle. North-south streets are numbered, east-west ones are lettered. There's no J Street, an intentional slight to early Supreme Court Justice John Jay, or X, Y or Z Street. I Street is often written Eye Street. Be sure to note the relevant two-letter code in any address (NW, NE, SW, SE), which shows its quadrant; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW is a long way from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave SE.

Once in the city, stop at the DC Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center , Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW (Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm; tel 202/328-4748), which can help with maps, tours, bookings and citywide information. Look for visitor information desks at the airports and Union Station. The White House Visitor Information Center , 1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW (daily 7.30am-4pm; tel 202/208-1631), supplies free maps and handy guides to museums and attractions; the most useful is the free Washington DC Visitors Guide .

 
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Popular Attractions
US Capitol Building
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Smithsonian Air-Space Museum
Lincoln Memorial
National Mall
Arlington National Cemetery
Mount Vernon Estate
Washington Monument

Featured Hotels
 •
L'enfant Plaza Hotel
   Walk (.4 mi) to Smithsonian
 • Sofitel Lafayette Sq.
   Bold interiors/unstuffy appeal,
   close to White House
 • The Churchill Hotel
   Historic character, 3 blocks to
   DuPont Circle




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Must See Washington DC 2017
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