Special Events Policies

The National Portrait Gallery invites corporations and organizations to support the museum’s mission and have the opportunity to celebrate a special occasion at the museum.  These co-sponsored events could include board dinners, year-end events, receptions for conference attendees, dinner programs, or client appreciation events.

Special events of a personal nature (weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, etc.), fund-raising events, and events of a partisan, political, or religious nature are not permissible. Because the building is a Smithsonian facility, events cannot have cash bars, ticket sales, admission fees, raffles, or the promotion or display of commercial products.

The dedicated special events team at the National Portrait Gallery will be pleased to provide you with a list of vendors whose expertise and familiarity with the venue will help make your event successful.  Vendor selections must be approved by the Portrait Gallery, and our staff will work with your events manager to ensure your complete satisfaction.

Click here to download a copy of the Smithsonian's Special Events Policy.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have an in-house caterer?
The National Portrait Gallery does not have an in-house caterer. Your Special Events Coordinator is happy to provide you with a list of preferred caterers and vendors for your special event.

When can I start my event?
The museum is open to the public from 11:30am to 7:00pm. Evening special events can begin at 7:00pm when the museum closes to the public. The Courtyard, Great Hall and Luce Center can be closed early for an additional fee.

What are the load-in and set-up times?
Your vendors are permitted to load-in and set items such as staging and lighting from 7:00am to 11:00am. Your vendors can return at 3:00pm to finish set up around the public.

Can you host daytime events or meetings?
Limited space is available for daytime events or meetings and is available upon request. For more information, please contact 202-633-8111 or NPGHostAnEvent@si.edu.

I would like to host a free public program (film screening, lecture, seminar, etc.) in the McEvoy Auditorium. Who should I contact? 
The National Portrait Gallery is able to co-host public programs that relate to the museum's collection and mission. If you would like to submit a proposal for a public program, please contact 202-633-8111 or NPGHostAnEvent@si.edu.