At National Geographic Museum enjoy a wide variety of changing exhibitions that reflect the richness and diversity of our world. The Museum’s exhibitions and the scientific fieldwork and expeditions on which they are based are supported by National Geographic’s Mission Programs.
In 1959, David and Carmen Kreeger began a personal collection of modern art, forming a shared vision based on creative passion instead of investment. David Kreeger himself said, “Art that embodies the creative spirit of men transcends the value of money." In 1994, four years after David’s death, the Kreeger Museum opened under the direction of Judy A. Greenberg with the mission of enhancing “the understanding and appreciation of art, architecture and music,” three of the Kreegers’ lifelong passions and favorite Jeopardy! categories.
Today, their personal acquisitions form the foundation of a collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings from masters such as Monet, Cézanne, and Picasso, along with works of traditional African and Asian art. Art pervades every inch of the museum campus, from the 5.5-acre wooded sculpture garden surrounding the building to the building itself designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Philip Johnson using a modernist approach and limestone imported from Italy. The building uses light and movement to guide visitors through the great hall, gallery spaces, and recital hall for performances of Beethoven’s B-sides.
The land at Tudor Place was purchased in 1805 by Martha Washington's granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter, and her husband, Thomas Peter, with an inheritance left to them by famed surveyor and occasional U.S. President George Washington. Over the ensuing 179 years, the stunning American Neoclassical house became home to six generations and hundreds of historical artifacts, including more than 100 objects, letters, and DVDs once belonging to George and Martha Washington. In 1988, the house, as well as its impressive 5.5-acre garden, was opened to the public as a historic site, allowing visitors to tour its immaculate greenery and marvel at its original Federal period design elements, such as Martha Peter's striking Boxwood Ellipse and grand Flower Knot.
William Wilson Corcoran believed in American artists at a time when most collectors bought only European paintings. The financier-turned-philanthropist made friends with masters such as Thomas Doughty and George Inness, bought what interested him, and even opened up his home twice a week so the public could view his collection. And that practice was the seed which grew into the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The formal location opened in 1874 with 98 paintings and sculptures from Corcoran's personal collection. Today, that collection exceeds 16,000.
The focus on 18th- to 20th-century American artists such as Mary Cassatt and Andy Warhol remains—but that doesn't mean the gallery has blinders on. It also holds works by European luminaries such as Pablo Picasso and Edgar Degas. The collection even extends into decorative art such as the Salon Doré, an 18th-century French period room once housed in Paris's Hôtel de Clermont.
In the same way the Corcoran Gallery extends beyond American art, it pushes its purpose beyond simply displaying masterpieces. Year-round events include lectures from prominent critics as well as live performances and wine mixers. The Corcoran even nurtures the next generation of talent with after-school and weekend classes that teach students how to draw everything from landscapes to landscapes covered with bowls of fruit.
Originally the residence of U.S. Capitol architect Edward Clark, O Street Museum’s five interconnected townhouses today enfold a private club, luxury hotel, conference center, and museum. The O Street Museum explores the creative process with more than 1,500 ever-changing exhibits, including handwritten manuscripts, animation stills, and autographed items from such musicians as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Shedding the restraints of a standard museum, O Street grants guests the freedom to leaf through collections of photographs and letters from visual artists or gently cradle sleeping sculptures in their bare hands.
Themed tours for groups or individuals unveil the subtleties of the museum’s elegant space, adorned with original, hand-painted ceilings and Tiffany stained-glass windows. Immersive special events include the Raw and Exposed program, which draws from the museum’s vast archives as it presents rare recordings from artists such as Janis Joplin and The Beatles. Amateur and seasoned musicians unite on stage during weekly jam sessions, and the SRO concert series fills the museum’s intimate space with one-of-a-kind gospel performances, drag shows, and sock-puppet reenactments of the Revolutionary War.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts brings recognition to the achievements of women artists of all periods and nationalities by exhibiting, preserving, acquiring, and researching art by women and by teaching the public about their accomplishments.