The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum will close to the public at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 18 for an Inaugural event. All afternoon tours and programs on that day are canceled.

What's On

Museum staff member installing a new exhibition

Upcoming Exhibitions

  • Chlld stacking blocks -- each block has a photograph of part of someone's face.

    Explore! With the National Portrait Gallery

    Opening January 28, 2017
    First floor, will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    The National Portrait Gallery opens its first-ever space dedicated to children. In Explore! kids can experiment with portraiture hands-on to answer questions such as “What is a portrait?” “How do I see myself?” and “How do others see me?”

    Learn more

  • Young soldier in fatigues looking tired and worn and directly at the camera

    The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now

    April 7, 2017 - January 28, 2018

    The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now explores and assesses the human costs of ongoing wars through portraiture. The exhibition title is drawn from John Keegan’s classic military history, which reorients our view of war from questions of strategy and tactics to its personal and individual toll.

    Image: Afghanistan, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, 2007. Lieutenant Piosa / Tim Hetherington / 2007 (printed 2016), Pigmented inkjet print / Courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust

    This exhibition is available for booking.

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  • Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image

    June 16, 2017 - April 15, 2018

    Marlene Dietrich brought androgyny to the silver screen through her roles in such movies as Morocco (1930) and Seven Sinners (1940).

    Image: Marlene Dietrich on the SS Europa, 1933, Cherbourg, France / Paul Cwojdzinski / 1933, Photograph / Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin, Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin, Germany


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  • Daguerreotype of an older woman (Dolley Madison) and a younger woman (Anna Payne)

    Antebellum Portraits by Mathew Brady

    June 16, 2017 - June 3, 2018

    This Daguerreian Gallery exhibition will trace the trajectory of Brady’s early career through portrait daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and salted-paper prints in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.

    Image: Dolley Madison and Anna Payne / Unidentified Artist, copy after: Mathew B. Brady / c. 1848, Quarter-plate daguerreotype / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Dortha Louise Dobson Adem Rogus, direct descendant of Dolley Madison

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  • Photograph of a young woman with dark hair (Sylvia Plath)

    One Life: Sylvia Plath

    June 30, 2017 - May 20, 2018

    “One Life: Sylvia Plath” is the first exploration of the poet and writer’s life in an art and history museum. The exhibition reveals how Plath shaped her identity visually as she came of age as a writer in the 1950s.

    Image: Sylvia Plath by Rollie McKenna / 1959 (printed later), Gelatin silver print / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Rollie McKenna


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  • Early painting of a man at a forge (blacksmithing)

    The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers

    November 3, 2017 - September 3, 2018

    “The Sweat of Their Face” combines art and social history with representations of American laborers across genres and centuries of art.

    Image: Pat Lyon at the Forge by John B. Neagle / 1829, Oil on canvas / Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Gift of the Lyon Family, 1842.1

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