United States

1250 New York Avenue
Phone: 202-783-5000
Website: http://www.nmwa.org

National Museum Of Women In The Arts

Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and Wallace F. Holladay began collecting art in the 1960s, just as scholars and art historians were beginning to discuss the underrepresentation of women and various racial and ethnic groups in museum collections and major art exhibitions. Among the first to apply this revisionist approach to collecting, the Holladays committed themselves for over 20 years to assembling art by women. By 1980, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay began to devote her energies and resources to creating a museum that would showcase women artists, and the Holladay Collection became the core of the institution's permanent collection.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts was incorporated in November 1981 as a private, non-profit museum. During its first five years, NMWA operated from temporary offices with docent-led tours of the collection at the Holladay residence. Special exhibitions also were presented. In 1983 the museum purchased a 78,810-square-foot Washington landmark near the White House, formerly a Masonic Temple, and refurbished it in accordance with the highest design, museum, and security standards. It won numerous architectural awards.

In the spring of 1987, NMWA opened the doors of its permanent location with the inaugural exhibition American Women Artists, 1830-1930. One of the country's foremost feminist art historians, Dr. Eleanor Tufts, was curator for the show, a definitive survey of the first century of work produced by America's women artists. To underscore the museum's commitment to increased attention for women in all disciplines, NMWA commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich to write Concerto for T... [ Read all ]

 Permanent Collection Highlights (15)

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Permanent Collection

Please visit our exhibition section for information on special permanent collection installations.

The permanent collection comprised of more than 3,000 works provides a comprehensive survey of art by women from the 16th century to the present, with new acquisitions added regularly. The work in the collection represents a wide range of styles and media—from the Renaissance paintings of Elisabetta Sirani to modern photographs by Barbara Morgan to Louise Nevelson's contemporary sculptures. NMWA also has several important special collections, including silver by 18th and 19th-century Irish and English women silversmiths.


Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque
March 16, 2007 - July 15, 2007

KATRINA: Mississippi Women Remember: Photographs by
Melody Golding
March 9, 2007 - May 28, 2007

Artists' Sketchbooks and Illustrated Diaries: Exploring the In/Visible
April 18, 2007 - July 15, 2007

Highlights from the Collection

The National Museum of Women
in the Arts at 20: Selections from
the Archives
January 26, 2007 - December 31, 2007

Previous Exhibitions

The Book As Art: Twenty Years of Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts
October 27, 2006 - February 4, 200

Portraits of Women by Women
September 2, 2006 - December 17, 2006

For more information please see, http://www.nmwa.org/exhibition/pastShows.asp

Forthcoming exhibitions

WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution
September 21, 2007 - December 16, 2007

WACK! is the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the formation, development, and impact of feminism in post-war contemporary art from 1965 to 1980.


Please note:
**Thurs., 4/19: Half price admission (3rd floor closed to the public).
**Fri., 4/20: Free admission due to limited access to galleries. Museum closes at noon due to the museum's annual gala that evening. Exhibition space accessible to visitors from 10am- noon: 2nd floor gallery, Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque. (Use 13th street entrance.) Museum shop open all day.
Adults: $10.00*
Visitors 60 and over: $8.00
Students: $8.00
NMWA members: Free
Youth 18 and under: Free
Free Community Days are the first
Sunday of every month.
* Museum admission passes and gift passes are available for purchase through the ticket office. Call 1-800-222-7270, x7084 for advance sales.

Opening hours

**Thurs., 4/19: Half price admission (3rd floor closed to the public).
**Fri., 4/20: Free admission due to limited access to galleries. Museum closes at noon due to the museum's annual gala that evening. Exhibition space accessible to visitors from 10am- noon: 2nd floor gallery, Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque. (Use 13th street entrance.) Museum shop open all day.

Monday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: noon - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and
New Year's Day


All public areas of the museum are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs and strollers are available at the security guard's desk for use within the museum. A large-print edition of the permanent collection wall text is available at the information desk.

The Mezzanine Cafe, surrounded by works from the museum's permanent collection, offers visitors a relaxing place to eat lunch. Choose from a seasonal menu of appetizers and soups, salads, gourmet sandwiches, a daily entree, and delicious desserts. With prior arrangement, the Cafe staff can also arrange breakfasts, private lunches, and afternoon teas. Call 202-628-1068 for reservations.
Open weekdays: 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Museum internal and external photos (1)

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Public Programs and Tours are designed for audiences of all ages. Programs expand the audience's knowledge of women artists, composers, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, dancers, and those working in other creative disciplines. Tours offer in-depth information about women artists and cover the history and purpose of the museum.


Adult Groups
School and Youth Groups

Literary Events
Family & Teen Programs
School Partnerships
Other Programs


Special guided tours for groups of up to 40 people are offered by appointment. For larger groups, the museum can provide a lecture followed by a walk through the galleries with museum docents. For more information and to request a date please see, http://www.nmwa.org/programTours/guide.asp.

Brief walk-in tours are offered throughout the week when guides are available. Check with the Information Desk when you arrive.

The museum also offers special tour packages that include lunch or tea; to arrange for one, call the Special Events office at 202-783-7988.


The museum provides materials and services for teachers, youth leaders, parents, and other educators to help them teach young people about the contributions of women in the arts.

For a full list of the resources provided for educators such as Workshops, Talks, the Exploring Art Program, Girl Scout Program, Teacher Cirriculum and School and Youth Tours please see, http://www.nmwa.org/resources/edu_index.asp


The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) was built upon the generosity of its members-individuals, corporations, organizations, and foundations who share our goal of recognizing the achievements of women in the visual and performing arts.

Today, NMWA continues to rely upon this broad based audience to support the innovative interpretive, outreach, exhibition, and research programs that the museum develops so it may educate people of all backgrounds about women who, in dedicating themselves to their art, change the role and perception of women in society.

We invite you to sustain the museum's vital work now and in the future by supporting one or more of our programs. In addition to promoting cultural enrichment opportunities in the region, across the nation, and around the world, NMWA contributors enjoy many benefits and prominent recognition for their important participation.

Your participation always has been — and always will be — a crucial part of our success. It's only through the loyal support of members that we've been able to present exhibitions, educational programs, and publications dedicated to celebrating the creativity of women artists. To learn more about membership — or to join today — select one of the levels below.

Individual ($40) - Free admission to the museum, our award-winning magazine, and discounts on purchases and events

Supporter ($50) - Individual membership benefits plus a beautiful set of postcards and a complimentary guest admission pass

Dual ($70) - Supporter membership benefits for two adults

Young Professional's Forum ($75) - Individual membership benefits plus invitations to cultura...+ [ Read all ]


Many corporations, organizations, and foundations have discovered that supporting exhibitions, education, and public programs at the National Museum of Women in the Arts is an excellent way to give something back to the local, national, or global communities they serve.

By sponsoring an exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, your organization will achieve many of its philanthropic, public relations, marketing, and outreach goals while simultaneously fostering appreciation for women's accomplishments in the visual and performing arts.

Lead and partial sponsorship and support opportunities exist for many museum exhibitions. We invite you to learn more about the valuable recognition and benefits your organization will gain by supporting a NMWA exhibition.

Venue hire

The National Museum of Women in the Arts provides spectacular, well-equipped space for many types of events. There are diverse venues housed in the museum's grand Renaissance Revival building. NMWA's professional special events staff will share their expertise and suggest knowledgeable and creative vendors, guaranteeing you a successful and memorable occasion.
Great Hall and Mezzanine
The elegant sophistication of the Great Hall and Mezzanine make it an ideal location for dancing, dinner, or a large cocktail reception. Guests are greeted by a luxurious marble reception area, and a ballroom adorned by three beautiful crystal chandeliers and works of art from our permanent collection. White marble staircases sweep upward to the spacious Mezzanine. An adjacent caterer's kitchen makes the space extremely practical. The Great Hall and Mezzanine can accommodate 500 guests for dinner and up to 1,000 for a reception.

Elisabeth A. Kasser Board Room
For private meetings or intimate functions, NMWA's exclusive Elisabeth A. Kasser Board Room can accommodate as many as 70 guests.

Third Floor Gallery
The Third Floor Gallery is a wonderful way to start an evening with a private cocktail reception, while surrounded by an extensive display of NMWA's permanent collection. This space can also be used for small seated dinners.

Performance Hall
If you are looking for a facility to hold a performance, lecture, or symposium, NMWA's Performance Hall is both comfortable and beautiful. This space can accommodate 200 guests and comes equipped with a built-in lectern and microphone.

For more information: Special Events Office
202-783-7366 or 202-783-7988 (phone)
202-393-3234 ...+ [ Read all ]