The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art has the largest publicly held collection of contemporary African art in the United States including more than 9,000 objects representing nearly every country in Africa dating from ancient to contemporary times. The collection contains a variety of media and art forms—textiles, photography, sculpture, pottery, paintings, jewelry and video art.
Founded in l964 as a private educational institution, the Museum of African Art initially occupied a town house once owned by Frederick Douglass, a former slave, abolitionist and statesman. In 1979, the Museum of African Art became part of the Smithsonian Institution
and in 1981 it was officially renamed the National Museum of African Art. In 1987, the museum was relocated to its current facility on the National Mall.
The museum is the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation and study of the arts of Africa. The building includes exhibition galleries, public education facilities, an art conservation laboratory, a research library and photographic archives.
The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, public discussions, films, storytelling, musical performances, and workshops. The museum also has programs and activities at Washington, DC area schools and African Embassies.
950 Independence Avenue SW
The closest Metro Station is the Smithsonian
See a map of the National Mall
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25.