The Smithsonian American Art Museum Receives a $5.4 Million Gift from David M. Rubenstein to Renovate Its Renwick Gallery
The museum closed to the public Dec. 9, 2013; staff and the collections vacated the building earlier this year. Construction is expected to be completed in 14 months.
About the Renwick Gallery's Building
The Renwick Gallery is one of the most elegant examples of Second Empire architecture in the U.S. The building is named for its architect, James Renwick Jr., who also designed the Smithsonian's "Castle" and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. It was built originally as a public museum for William Corcoran's private art collection. The Renwick Gallery is the third-oldest Smithsonian building.
In 1956, Congress proposed that the building be razed. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy led the campaign to save the Renwick Gallery as part of her plan to restore Lafayette Square, and in 1965,
S. Dillon Ripley, then secretary of the Smithsonian, met with President Lyndon Johnson to request that the gallery be turned over to the Smithsonian. The Renwick was subsequently dedicated "for use as a gallery of art, crafts and design." The Renwick was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and in 1971 was designated a National Historic Landmark building in the Lafayette Square Historic District. The Renwick Gallery is located steps from the White House in the heart of historic federal Washington.
An online press kit about the renovation with a more detailed history of the building is available at americanart.si.edu/pr/renwick.
About Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, iTunes U and ArtBabble. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Website: americanart.si.edu.