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“Go see Thomas Moran!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
F Street NW, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, DC 20560 (Downtown / Chinatown)
202 357 2700
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Top Rated
$39*
and up
Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour
Ranked #14 of 234 Attractions in Washington DC
Type: Art Museums, History Museums, Museums
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: Visitors can view the portraits of all the U.S. presidents.
Reno, Nevada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Go see Thomas Moran!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2012

His 3 portraits of the Grand Canyon, which took years to paint, are breathtaking. This is an all-day museum to make sure that you can see everything and take it all in.

Visited February 2012
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
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English first
Burlington, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Worth a stop in the Chinatown area”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2012

Visited with our niece. Varied exhibits. Take your time. Don't hurry. There is a lot of American history in these portaits.

Visited March 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Walk through history...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2012

You see so many paintings you already know by heart...but they are so wonderful in person. Like walking through rooms filled with those who shaped our history. Always fun.

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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
710 reviews 710 reviews
397 attraction reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
397 helpful votes 397 helpful votes
“From George Washington to George W. Bush, all in lovely oils!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2012

Since my girlfriend and I were coming to Washington, DC during Black History Month, I was very happy to hear that the National Portrait Gallery was holding an exhibit of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders "Black List," a series of photographs of some of the most noteworthy African-Americans, who have contributed to our culture in numerous ways.

On the way to this exhibit, we had to pass through the collection of portraits of all our presidents, which is wonderful. Starting with the iconic portraits of George Washington by Stuart and Peale and then John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and all the others, it is really wonderful to see. As I was looking at paintings of some of the presidents we hardly think about, Franklin Pierce and Zachary Taylor, I heard a small boy telling his father what he knew about them - "oh yes, this one was the 11th president, from such and such a year..." - a very sweet moment, and you could tell the boy was both in awe of seeing the portraits of the presidents, and proud of himself or remembering what he had learned in school.

Bridging the gap between those galleries and the ones holding the "Black List" was a series of all paintings and photographs of all the iconic figures in our recent history of civil rights advances - not just people like Dr. King and Rosa Parks who have advanced the cause of African-Americans, but also Native Americans and women who have been instrumental in advancing their causes.

Finally, I arrived at the goal and reason for visiting the Portrait Gallery - the Black List. I have seen the accompanying documentary of part one of this "List" on HBO, so I expected to see photographs of people like Colin Powell and Laurence Fishburne. It was great to see who has been added for the second and third parts of this series. But there are still some glaring omissions from the list - for example, none of Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier are there. The list would have more gravity if more of the truly seminal figures in African-American culture who are living were included.

The National Portrait Gallery's building also contains the Smithsonian Museum of American Art - in fact, the two museums are intertwined. We ventured into the American Art Museum a bit, seeing an Annie Liebovitz exhibit and also taking a look at a series of paintings of Native Americans from the 19th century which is part of the collection. This museum also contains things like Frederick Bartholde's 2-foot high model for the Statue of Liberty.

Visited February 2012
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Falls Church, Virginia
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“A little old timey”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

It's ok. Not my style of art but I'm sure plenty of people appreciate it.

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