The Portrait Gallery is committed to providing access to all visitors. This page contains information to help you plan your visit so that is as easy and comfortable as possible.

Masks are not required while visiting the National Portrait Gallery or the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Visitors may choose to wear a mask during their visit and are encouraged to do so when attending public programs.

On-site tours and events are currently suspended, and most public programs will be online. For information about virtual tours and programs, visit: Access Programs Online 

If you have any further questions after reading this page, please contact Visitor Services at 202-633-8300 or email: 

graphic image of a service dog  Service Dogs

Service dogs are welcome. The SI follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA requirements for service dogs.  The dog must be trained to assist a person with a disability. Visitors are not allowed to bring emotional support animals into Smithsonian museums.

 Wheelchair icon  Visitors Who Use Wheelchairs or Other Mobility Devices

​​Arriving and Parking

All visitors will be directed to enter and exit through the entrance at 8th and G Streets NW. 

Getting Around in the Museum

Elevators serve all areas of the building. All restrooms and water fountains are wheelchair accessible. Family/companion care restrooms are located on the first and second floors near the F Street elevators.

Wheelchairs are available for your comfort. To borrow one, ask the security officer stationed at the G Street entrance.

Limited metered parking is available on the streets around the museum. Red Top meters are reserved for drivers with disabled parking placards. For more information about the Red Top Meter Program, check the  District Department of Transportation website.

ADA parking spaces are available, for a charge, at nearby parking garages. View the map of their locations.

Visitors using the MetroAccess paratransit service should tell the driver to go to 800 G Street, or to G and 8tth Street.

Person walking with a cane, icon  Visitors Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Mobile Information Service:

aira logo  

Navigate the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum with Aira - a free app that connects you with sighted agents who provide verbal descriptions on demand. This subscription service is free when visiting the museums and connected to our Wi-Fi. To learn more, download the Aira app.  

Audio Portrait Descriptions

The Portrait Gallery has developed audio descriptions of select portraits from our permanent collection. Designed for people who are blind or have low vision, these descriptions use precise, evocative language to convey the visual appearance of art, and are equally valuable for sighted visitors seeking closer observation. The descriptions can be accessed on the Audio Portrait Descriptions page or on the SmARTify app. 

smartify logo

To get the app:

  • Download the app from the Apple or Android store
  • Open the app and tap on the “Explore” icon
  • Find the National Portrait Gallery and scroll to “Trending Tours”
  • Select “Visual Description tour of select portraits in America’s Presidents”

drawing of a brain within a head  Visitors with Developmental and Sensory Disabilities

The Portrait Gallery is, on average, a relatively quiet museum.  Nevertheless, it can get busy at certain times. If you or your family member are sensitive to noise, consider bringing noise cancelling headphones.

There are usually quiet areas throughout building to take a break. The following resources will help you plan for an enjoyable visit: