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Collections on View

American Origins, 1600-1900
Permanent exhibition: First floor

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A “conversation about America” will be on view in a series of 17 galleries and alcoves chronologically arranged to take the visitor from the days of contact between Native Americans and European explorers through the struggles of independence to the Gilded Age. Major figures from Pocahontas to Chief Joseph, Alexander Hamilton to Henry Clay, and Nathaniel Hawthorne to Harriet Beecher St owe will be among those included. Three of the galleries will be devoted exclusively to the Civil War, examining this conflict in depth. A group of modern photographic prints produced from Mathew Brady’s original negatives will complement the exhibition. Highlights from the Gallery’s remarkable collection of daguerreotypes, the earliest practical form of photography, will be on view in “American Origins,” making the National Portrait Gallery the first major museum to create a permanent exhibition space for daguerreotype portraits of historically significant Americans.


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The Struggle for Justice
Permanent exhibition: Second floor

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"The Struggle for Justice” showcases major cultural and political figures—from key 19th-century historical figures to contemporary leaders—who struggled to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.

The exhibition, featuring more than 40 photographs, paintings, posters, buttons and sculptures, includes portraits of civil rights leaders Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr.; women’s-rights advocates Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Betty Friedan; Native American activist Leonard Crow Dog; cultural icons Jackie Robinson and singer Marian Anderson; United Farm Workers organizer César Chávez; gay and lesbian rights leaders and Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver.


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”Jo Davidson: Biographer in Bronze”
Permanent exhibition: Second floor

Fourteen portraits in bronze and terra-cotta made by renowned American sculptor Jo Davidson between 1908 and 1946 include depictions of Gertrude Stein, Franklin D. Roosevelt, artist John Marin and Lincoln Steffens.

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“Twentieth-Century Americans”
Permanent exhibition: Third floor

Four newly created galleries opening onto the museum’s magnificent third-floor Great Hall will showcase the major cultural, scientific and political figures of the 20th century. From the reform movements of the first two decades to the movements for social justice and civil rights of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and from the Great Depression to the Vietnam era and beyond, visitors can explore the never-ending struggle to attain the American goal of justice for all.

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Bravo!
Permanent exhibition: Third floor mezzanine

"Bravo!" will showcase the composers and performers who brought the performing arts to life from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Collaborative performances such as John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn in "Rooster Cogburn" and Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland in a People's Concert are featured in a video component of the show.

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Champions
Permanent exhibition: Third floor mezzanine

A salute to the dynamic American sports figures whose impact has extended beyond their sports and made them a part of the larger story of our nation. A lively combination of portraits, artifacts and memorabilia and video will enhance the exhibition. Video clips of the famous athletes in the exhibit are narrated by Michael Wilbon of ESPN and The Washington Post




















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MUSEUM  FLOORPLAN
View the museum's exhibition spaces and layout.

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OUTGOING LOAN PROGRAM
Lending objects to qualified institutions for public exhibition, educational, and scholarly purposes is an integral part of the National Portrait Gallery’s mission.

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Borrower's Checklist (PDF)
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