Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
|Location:||1661 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
|Built:||1859 - 1873|
|Architect:||James Renwick, Jr.|
|Architectural style:||Second Empire|
|Governing body:||Smithsonian Institution|
|Added to NRHP:||March 24, 1969|
The Renwick Gallery is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, located in Washington, D.C., and focuses on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th century to the 21st century. It is housed in a National Historic Landmark building that was begun in 1859 on Pennsylvania Avenue and originally housed the Corcoran Gallery of Art (now one block from the White House and across the street from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building).
The Renwick Gallery building was originally built to be Washington, D.C.'s first art museum and to house William Wilson Corcoran's collection of American and European art. The building was designed by James Renwick, Jr. and completed in 1874. The building was near completion when the Civil War broke out, and was used as a temporary military warehouse. By 1869, the building was returned to Corcoran, and in 1874, the Corcoran Gallery of Art opened to the public. The gallery quickly outgrew the space and relocated to a new building nearby in 1897. Starting in 1899, the building housed the federal Court of Claims. By the 1950s, in need of more space, the Court of Claims proposed to demolish the building, however in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of the Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley, proposed that the building be turned over to the Smithsonian.
In 1965, President Johnson signed an executive order transferring the Renwick building to the Smithsonian Institution for use as a "gallery of arts, craft and design." After a renovation, it opened in 1972 as the home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft program.
See also 
- Kenneth Trapp and Howard Risatti, Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56098-831-2 (cloth). ISBN 1-56098-806-1 (paper).
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