Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)

800 G Street NW
Washington, DC - 20001

Type: Arts Museum
(202) 633-1000
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The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) was founded in 1829. Originally, SAAM began in the private home of art collector John Varden, who had built a room specifically for his European art collection. In 1841, the collection was moved to the Patent Office Building, but it was called the National Institute. John Varden became the first curator of the museum. The Declaration of Independence and Benjamin Franklin's printing press were added to the museum. When the Smithsonian was established in 1846 most of the collection was moved to the new structure The Smithsonian Castle by 1862. Unfortunately, there was a fire and this caused the decision to put most of the artwork on loan to the Library of Congress and to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In 1957, there were plans to destroy the Patent Office Building but the Greek revival architecture saved the structure and ownership was transferred to the Smithsonian. After substantial renovations, the museum reclaimed its home and opened to the public in 1968.

On January 28, 1972, the Renwick Gallery opened as a branch of the museum, featuring craft objects and decorative arts. The building is a National Historic Landmark as Second Empire architecture. The Renwick building’s claim to fame was not only its unique French design but its savior from the wrecking ball, Firs Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Her plan to restore Lafayette Square included proposing the use of the building as a museum.

Besides this arts museum, there are twenty-six more arts museums listed in Washington. There's also one hundred and two attractions listed in this city in other categories. You will find the exact location of Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) on the map above. If you need any other information on Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) that is not listed here, please call (202) 633-1000 or visit their website.

Museum Info

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Opening Hours Everyday: 11:30 am - 7:00 pm
Hour Details Click Here
Year Established 1829
Annual Visitors 1.2 million (2013)

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Nearby Museums

Following is a list of other museums found within few miles of Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). You may also view all museums in Washington, District of Columbia.