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Profile - Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution is a world-class museum of international modern and contemporary art. Located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Hirshhorn is one of 19 Smithsonian Institution museums and research centers. The museum opened on Oct. 1, 1974, as a result of the efforts and generosity of American entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899-1981), who donated his collection to the Smithsonian Institution in 1966. Designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, the museum's elevated drum shaped building has 60,000 square feet of exhibition space inside and nearly four acres outside in its two-level Sculpture Garden and plaza. This welcoming, contemplative environment is designed to encourage visitors to connect with art in their own ways. Since September 2005, the Hirshhorn has been led by Olga Viso, the fourth director, who began her tenure in 1995, first serving as curator of contemporary art and next as the museum's deputy director.
The Hirshhorn's innovative line-up of programs provides the opportunity to acquire further insight into exhibitions and art-related issues. Program highlights include: Meet the Artist lectures, Artist on Artist gallery tours, the annual James T. Demetrion Lecture, children's programming and interactive artmaking workshops for youth, designed and lead by working artists. Several times a year, the museum hosts Hirshhorn After Hours, late-night events with music, refreshments and exhibition-related programming that encourages local residents to enjoy art in a social setting. The world-renowned Hirshhorn film program, one of the first in the United States to focus on independent cinema, offers narrative and experimental features, documentaries and shorts. Held in the 272-seat Gustave and Marion Ring Auditorium, the program is also noted for screening films by and about artists and presenting world premieres.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a leading voice for contemporary art and culture and provides a national platform for the art and artists of our time. We seek to share the transformative power of modern and contemporary art with audiences at all levels of awareness and understanding by creating meaningful, personal experiences in which art, artists, audiences and ideas converge. We enhance public understanding and appreciation of contemporary art through acquisitions, exhibitions, education and public programs, conservation and research.

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