The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation's first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection captures the aspirations, character, and imagination of the American people throughout three centuries. The museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal key aspects of America's rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today.
The museum has been a leader in identifying and collecting significant aspects of American visual culture, including photography, modern folk and self-taught art, African American art, Latino art, and video games. The museum has the largest collection of New Deal art and exceptional collections of contemporary craft, American impressionist paintings and masterpieces from the Gilded Age. In recent years, the museum has focused on strengthening its contemporary art collection, and in particular media arts, through acquisitions, awards, curatorial appointments, endowments, and by commissioning new artworks.
The museum's main building, a National Historic Landmark located in the heart of Washington's downtown cultural district, has been meticulously renovated with expanded permanent-collection galleries and innovative public spaces. The Luce Foundation Center for American Art, the first visible art storage and study center in Washington, allows visitors to browse thousands of artworks from the collection. It adjoins the Lunder Conservation Center, which is shared with the National Portrait Gallery, the first art conservation facility to allow the public permanent behind-the-scenes views of the preservation work of museums.
The Renwick Gallery, a branch of the museum that showcases the best craft objects and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present, reopened in November 2015 after a two year renovation.