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“Beautiful architecture”

National Museum of Women in the Arts
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Ranked #80 of 453 things to do in Washington DC
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Owner description: Founded in 1981 and opened in 1987, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum solely dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing and literary arts. The museum's collection features 4,500 works from the 16th century to the present created by more than 1,000 artists, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin, along with special collections of 18th-century silver tableware and botanical prints. NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., In a landmark building near the White House.
Reviewed May 6, 2012

It is definitely worth a visit. The architecture, both inside and out, is quite beautiful. The collection is very good, but not great. As a fairly young museum, their acquisitions will continue to grow.

Thank artistravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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225 - 229 of 262 reviews

Reviewed April 17, 2012

One of the best little-known museums in DC. Many special exhibits have introduced me to wonderful artists of whom I'd been entirely ignorant. The gift shop is small but full of whimsy and, from time to time, has great jewelry. On the second Sunday of each month (I think it's the 2nd Sunday) they have a brunch that is a great way to launch a downtown jaunt...off the beaten track and always full of a quiet, happy spirit.

2  Thank jaseaton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

Previously unknown to me was this small museum which provided a delightful visit. Apparently this is the only museum in the world dedicated to women's arts and has a permanent collection of about 3000 pieces. The time spans from the 16th century to the present. Just as wonderful is the building itself - a beautiful, marble structure that was at one time a Masonic Temple. The architecture, marble and goldleaf are impressive - as much as the paintings!
The Mezzanie Cafe overlooks the lobby area and staircase which makes for great atmosphere while dining. The 4 of us had different offerings for lunch, all which were tasty and modestly priced.

1  Thank ChippiePennsylvania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2012

The building is absolutely beautiful and the present exhibit is very interesting. The best part is in a back room the exhibit of a 60's activist who was a nun and used ad slogans for her messages. very cool

Thank albnh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2012

In today's political climate, there is a lot of invective against having separate institutions existing to protect and celebrate groups that are under-represented in the American mainstream. The idea is that we should let the market decide, and everyone is on their own. But previous generations knew that there were sound reasons to protect and herald these groups, and so the result is institutions like the Museum of Women in the Arts, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

As some have mentioned, the permanent collection is mostly of European and North American artists. But when I see people criticizing the museum for this narrow representation, I have to say, "oh, give me a break!" because (a) if someone else wants to have a museum of women's art that focusses on, say, art of Asia and South America, let them start their own museum (i.e., this museum reflects the vision of the founder/patron, which is true of most museums and their permanent collections) and (b) I gather that the museum frequently covers areas missing in their permanent collection in their special exhibits.

Visiting the museum in early February, I came in between special exhibits, which was fine with me because it gave me a chance to focus on the permanent collection. Most of that in terms of volume is on the top floor, while the mezzanine and ground floor have 17th and 18th century art on the sides surrounding the large beautiful lobby space.

So on the 3rd floor are paintings of Mary Cassat, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe, as one would expect, but there is outstanding work by many other artists that are less familiar, like Remedios Varo. And my girlfriend and I were delighted to see several wonderful works by Rosa Bonheur. Bonheur's painting "The Horse Fair" is at the Met Museum in NYC, and one of our first dates was to hear a gallery talk about Bonheur and her work.

There is a great deal of information about the artists, which is wonderful, because of course most of them are less-heralded than their male contemporaries. And some very interesting information about their domestic situations - for example, how one painter supported her family of 10 children with her painting while her husband took care of the children (unfortunately, I did not note that artist's name).

The building is beautiful, especially the aforementioned lobby, which would be perfect for hosting large parties or even wedding receptions. We spent some great time there exploring the art, and while the size of the collection is slight compared to many other museums in Washington, I thought it was nice for once not to feel like there was more than I could ever hope to see in one day.

1  Thank Charming_Karl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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