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“incredible collections and nice architecture”

Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
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Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials
Ranked #40 of 442 things to do in Washington DC
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Owner description: The Smithsonian Institution has two museums of Asian art: the Freer Gallery of Art, which opened to the public in 1923, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which welcomed its first visitors in 1987. Together known as the Freer|Sackler, the museums are physically connected by an underground passageway and ideologically linked through the study, exhibition, and sheer love of Asian art. Please note: The Freer Gallery of Art will be closed to the public from January 2016 until summer 2017. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Library, and Archives will remain open for the duration of the renovation.
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1,177 reviews
437 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 530 helpful votes
“incredible collections and nice architecture”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

What a beautiful set of galleries--- and their permanent and visiting exhibits are so nicely done. The buildings themselves are beautifully built and maintained. My favorite spot is the peacock room!

Visited June 2012
Thank jenabaindelhi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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544 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
57 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Excellent collection”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

There is a world- class collection of Asian art. Museum stores a small, but exquisite collection of art novae paintings and objects. All this is in the modern, spacious building with inner garden. It is not very crowded and provides a lot of space to relax in a beautiful setting.

Visited September 2012
Thank borismail01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
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522 reviews
261 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 360 helpful votes
“An Impressive Gathering of Rich Tastes .....”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

For us, what makes Washington D.C. such a compelling destination is its outstanding array of museums & galleries, coupled with so many impressive monuments & memorials. You could come here for years and still not exhaust the list of enticing visitor attractions.

The trick, of course, is to assemble your own list in advance, focus on what seems likely to satisfy your personal tastes, and complete your own leisurely tour. One target on our agenda for this year's visit was the "Freer Gallery of Art", located at the back of Smithsonian Castle.
Our particular interest here was the work of the famous Artist, Whistler (some of whose paintings we had enjoyed, years ago, in a "Turner, Whistler, Monet" exhibition elsewhere). The Gallery's Founder, Charles Lang Freer, was apparently America's foremost collector of "Whistlers" so we had high hopes.

We were far from disappointed ! We got a bit lost at first trying to find our way, having gone through what we think is the back garden of Smithsonian Castle, and then trying the wrong door - but we got there eventually !

While only a fraction pf Freer's Whistler collection is on display, what we saw was excellent. For our tastes, probably the most impressive paintings were what were labelled "Nocturnes" : beautiful evocative works using combinations of blue, silver, grey & gold to illuminate hazy landscapes at Chelsea, Bognor and Valparaiso Bay - Beautiful !

We had differing views on the other main exhibit we had opted to visit : "The Peacock Room".
This unique space was originally the dining room of the Kensington Mansion of a rich English Victorian ship owner, Frederick Leyland, who wished to transform his home into a palace of art. Whistler's contribution was to decorate the entire room as a "harmony in blue and gold" - he covered the leather-clad walls, ceiling, shelving and furnishings with blue paint, gold-painted peacock feathers, gilt relief decor, and green glaze, with two golden painted peacocks trailing a stream of feathers, above the sideboard.

I was not surprised to learn that Leyland found the room's brilliance excessive, and he and Whistler (who never saw the room again) quarrelled bitterly - my "better half" loved it & purchased a beautifully illustrated book for $16 "The Peacock Room comes to America" in the Gallery's Shop ! I couldn't resist pointing-out to her that Charles Freer, who purchased the entire Room in 1892, was ambivalent about it, preferring "aesthetic subtlety to gorgeous extravagance" - judge for yourself !!

Still coping with our contrasting reactions to the rich art we had viewed, we rambled back to Smithsonian Castle, postponing to another day taking-in the various Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian, South Asian and Islamic art pieces also on view in this excellent gallery.

Visited October 2012
Thank Gooner10_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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742 reviews
252 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 641 helpful votes
“Worth the visit!”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

I really enjoyed this museum! They have a collection of Willard Metcalf paintings which are so beautiful! There is also a nice collection Whistler paintings as well as the stunning Peacock Room. This is another one of Washington's gems and a nice respite from the crowds at some of the larger museums!

Visited October 2012
Thank TorontoMusicman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“My favorite gallery in DC”
Reviewed November 3, 2012

I love this gallery. It's always filled with art and artifacts from exotic, far away places and has always captured my imagination. I lived on Capitol Hill for 10 years and the Mall was a favorite place to take a run. I always stopped on the tail end of my run at the Sackler to catch my breath and see what was new. The beauty of the Smithsonians...they are free. You can just pop in to see a wing at a time and not feel pressure to see the whole thing. Love!

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

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