The National Museum of Women In the Arts is reopening on Saturday, after a two-year, $70 million renovation project. Having been before and after the transformation, I cannot overstate the improvement. Definitely worth checking out.
The renovation increased the museum’s gallery space to accommodate larger pieces and nearly 40% of the works are being exhibited for the first time. Plus, the museum is now fully ADA-compliant, and there’s a new library and performance hall. The goal is to both showcase women artists and advocate for them. “I like to say we are both a museum and a megaphone,” said museum director Susan Fisher Sterling.
What’s on Display Now?
The inaugural exhibit “The Sky’s the Limit” features sculptures and immersive installations by 13 artists. There are works spilling over walls and dangling from the ceiling. Don’t sleep on “Remix: The Collection,” which presents works through themes like “Seeing Red” or “Home Maker.” Lastly, check out the “Hung Liu: Making History” exhibit on the top floor, where giant canvases memorialize women and children from Chinese history.
Sculpture, Beatriz Milhazes, Marola, 2015. (Kaela Cote-Stemmermann/City Cast DC)
It’s a jaw-dropping improvement and the museum has quickly become one of my favorites in D.C. You see classical 15th century portraits side-by-side with racial justice protest sculptures, but it’s not jarring. Rather, the pieces feel in conversation with each other. Pieces are grouped by color or medium, which I felt helped display the full spectrum of the female experience. I left feeling like I had been on an emotional rollercoaster but was excited to return.
Join the Party:
The museum is offering free admission on opening weekend. Tickets are already booked, but limited walk-ins will be allowed starting at noon. This weekend's programming includes cocktail tasting, craft making, and permanent flash tattoos inspired by the museum.
Logistics and Timing:
After this weekend, admission is $16 for adults (but $13 for D.C. residents) and free for anyone under 21. The museum is open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Plan to spend around two hours to see everything.