|Currently on View
American Origins, 1600-1900
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A “conversation about America” is 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 Stowe
are among those included.
Three of the galleries are devoted exclusively to the Civil War, examining this conflict in depth. A
group of modern photographic prints produced from Mathew Brady’s original negatives complements
the exhibition. Highlights from the Gallery’s remarkable collection of daguerreotypes, the earliest
practical form of photography, are on view in “American Origins,” making the National Portrait
Gallery the first major museum to create a permanent exhibition space for daguerreotype portraits.
John James Audubon / Unidentified Artist /
Copy after: John Woodhouse Audubon / c. 1841 /
Oil on canvas /
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Gallery of Art; gift of the Avalon Foundation through the generosity of Ailsa Mellon Bruce, 1951
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View the museum's new exhibition spaces and layout.
View Floorplan (PDF)