The National Gallery of Art is home to fifteen diverse permanent exhibits that include the work of Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, as well as a wide range of paintings by Dutch Masters of the 1600's. Contemporary art work is also abundant in the Museum, such as in the section from the Armand Hammer Collection.
A joint Resolution of Congress created the Gallery in 1937 as a manner of accepting Andrew W. Mellon's gift of his collection that he had began acquiring in the 20's with the intention of bestowing it to the American People. Upon his death the collection was bequeathed and his Educational and Charitable Trust provided funds for the construction of the West Building at 7th St. and Constitution Avenue, NW.
Since that time, both the collection and the museum buildings have grown on the same land initially allotted for the construction of the National Gallery of Art by the U.S. Congress on the National Mall in Washington D.C. between 3rd and 7th Streets.
The East Building was erected in 1978. It is home to the library, a research center and the administrative offices of the Museum as well as exhibition space. An underground concourse connects the East and West Buildings. The East Building built of stone with sharp cutting corners contrasts starkly with the classic Washington Greek Revival style of architecture used on many of the stone Government buildings.
In 1999, the sculpture garden was inaugurated on more than 6 acres of land adjoining the West Building.
The Gallery is open to the public on Mondays through Saturdays from 10 AM to 5 PM and on Sundays from 11 AM to 6 PM, only closing on January 1st and December 25th. Admission is free of charge.
The nearest Metro Stations are the Red line at Judiciary Square, the Yellow and Green lines at Archives station and the Blue and Orange lines at Smithsonian stop.
There are 6 entrances to the sculpture garden in total, one directly across from the West Building.
The museum is wheelchair accessible at the East Building from 4th St, N.W. and to the West Building at Constitution Avenue at 6th St. Wheelchairs and strollers are available from the Museum in limited numbers.
Guides for the hearing impaired and the blind are available for tours upon advance request of at least 3 weeks to ensure availability. Auditoriums have special facilities for the hearing impaired including closed caption options for films. Tours are also periodically programmed in as many as 11 non-English languages. In some cases these only occur once a month so the Museum should be consulted with long before a visit if foreign language guides are required.
Films, concerts and other special events are regularly programmed at the National Gallery of Art. Interactive family workshops as well as activities for children and teens are also designed by the museum educational staff.
Five different dining options are available at the museum including the Pavilion Cafy which affords a view of the Sculpture Garden while enjoying a meal.