For all these years, I’ve passed by the only museum in the world dedicated to women in the arts without ever realizing it. For my school newspaper, I decided to take the task of writing an article about the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It sits on New York Avenue in D.C., where I’ve often walked by it, not thinking much of it. Now, after taking a few hours to roam around its collection and marvel at its gorgeous lobby (see the picture above!), I would love the chance to go back!
Let me take you through the journey and inspire you to contemple artwork— and of course, visit the museum! For basic admission and information, scroll to the bottom 🙂
Visit this One-of-a-Kind Museum!
Having never been to this museum before, I entered the building and went straight to the information desk inside the museum. Initially, I planned to meet my dad here for lunch, but we found out from the ladies at the information desk that the restaurant was closed. Eventually, we ate some great kabobs at some place in the National Mall Eatery, haha!
As my dad had to go back to work, I planned on going through the museum by myself. After our tasty lunch, I returned to the museum, hopeful for my visit. I went to the gift shop, where one buys the admission tickets, and asked about the price for admission. The lady told me that all people under eighteen years old were free (for more about admission prices, scroll to the bottom or visit nmwa.org)!
Once again, I greeted the ladies at the information desk, who then gave me a free museum guide and suggested that I start on the third floor, where the museum’s collections were located. To reach the elevators, one has to walk by the incredible marble lobby. It looks like a palace! A friend told me that she knew someone who got married in the museum; I thought, “Hmm. How unusual.” But then, I immediately saw why! Between the chandeliers, the artwork, portraits, and abstract art that rim around the room, and the royal carpeted staircases, I would love to have a party here!
Moving on, I took the elevators to the third floor, where all different types of art forms greeted me. Immediately as I exited the elevator, this light-up sign (pictured below) set the tone for the third floor. Spending time gazing at the artwork and their description cards, the themes of social injustices, stereotypes, and other overlooked societal problems shone through the creations.
Reading a painting’s description, I liked the idea that “artwork was a form of social commentary.” Not being much of an artist myself, this museum offered me a chance to think, reflect, and even laugh with artist at both traditional and modern forms of art. Acid Rain by Chakaia Booker was one of my favorite artworks! Located in a white room on the third floor, this unusual creation scared me the first time I saw it (pictured below).
Reading the description card, I learned that the artist searched for discarded tires and then used them to create this artwork. Booker’s intent was to show how she could use society’s debris to create something for everyone to enjoy. By the way, this artwork is taller than I am!
Elizabeth A. Kasser’s Hidden Treasure
Leaving the third floor, I went down a staircase this time and saw that the second floor was under construction. This forced me to skip to the first floor where hidden behind the staircase was the Elizabeth A. Kasser Wing. I almost missed it had I not been trying to look for the elevators.
This room hosted portraits from the late Medieval Ages to the Renaissance period. With the elaborate chandeliers and the sensation of being in the time period, the room feels enchanting. Definitely spend some time in here! On the first floor were other paintings along the walls and the café, which was currently closed.
The Research Library
Finally, my last destination was the research library on the fourth floor. As I had read in the lobby, this museum was created in 1987 by Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay. This couple realized how difficult it was to find any information on female artists, so they founded this museum to display their collected artwork and create more research around women in the arts. The library, as well as the whole of the museum, allows all visitors the chance to freely read, investigate, and spend time in the library.
I found myself walking up and down the rows of books, couches, and things on display. For my school newspaper article, I wanted to incorporate a quote or two from a worker at the museum. I decided to courageously ask a volunteer working the library’s front desk a few questions about why she liked the museum and why people should visit.
To my first question, she simply responds, “That it’s women artists.” To my second one, she says, “Because people don’t know enough about what our collection is, and it’s a beautiful building.”
As I took the elevator down to the lobby to end my visit, I asked another worker if I could ask her a few questions about the museum. She happily agreed and said that she had been working there for six years. When I asked her about her favorite piece or floor, she said, “That’s hard… I guess our third floor where our collection is hanging because it shows of the best of the collection.”
Lastly, I ask her why people should visit this museum. She responds, “Because we are the only museum in the world dedicated to championing women in the arts.”
And with that, I ended my visit by stopping by the gift shoppe and then taking a few more pictures of the outside!
Address: 1250 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20005-3970
Admission Prices: Free for 18 & younger, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and older
Hours: Mon.—Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. (Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day)
If you loved this museum review, check out one that I wrote on the Museum of the Bible. The admission here is totally free, close by to the Federal Center Metro station, and super amazingly done!
I hope you guys have a great weekend! Feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this museum or anything else!
The quote of the post:
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~Maya Angelou