List of museums in Washington, D.C.

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This list of museums in Washington, D.C. encompasses museums defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are university and non-profit art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included. The present list numbers 82 museums.


To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

Name Image Sponsoring Institution Type Summary
African American Civil War Memorial Museum National Mall and Memorial Parks African American history History of the African American soldiers and sailors who fought for the Union in the United States Civil War
American University Museum American University Art Regional, national, and international contemporary art
Anacostia Community Museum Smithsonian Institution African American history Local history and culture
Anderson House Society of the Cincinnati Historic house Early 1900s palatial residence with period furnishings, Society artifacts, portraits, armaments, and personal artifacts of Revolutionary War soldiers
Art Museum of the Americas Organization of American States Art Museum for modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art
Arts and Industries Building Smithsonian Institution History/Science A national space to explore ideas and questions about the future [1]
Charles Sumner School Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives[2] History One of the first public school buildings erected for the education of Washington's black community
Chinese American Museum DC Independent American History A new museum focused on the history, culture, arts, accomplishments, and contributions of Chinese Americans. Link
Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum Independent History Apartment where Clara Barton lived throughout the Civil War that was her home base for her work as the "angel of the battlefield." After the war, she ran the Missing Soldiers Office out of this apartment. Barton and her staff received approximately 66,000 letters from families looking for their lost loved ones. They were able to locate approximately 23,000 missing men.
DAR Museum Daughters of the American Revolution Art Features 30 period rooms of decorative arts including furniture, silver, paintings, ceramics, textiles, toys, quilts
Decatur House White House Historical Association Historic house Early 19th-century house with exhibits about the White House. Currently closed for tours.
Dumbarton House The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America Historic house Early 19th century period house and headquarters
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection Dumbarton Oaks Library Exhibits of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and European masterpieces from its collections
Folger Shakespeare Library Independent Library Exhibits from its collections about William Shakespeare
Ford's Theatre National Historic Site National Park Service History Site of assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, includes theater presentation, Lincoln museum, and Petersen House where he was taken
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site National Park Service Historic house Home and estate of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century
General Federation of Women's Clubs Headquarters General Federation of Women's Clubs Historic house Tours of the social clubhouse headquarters, changing exhibits of art, photographs and artifacts from its collections
George Washington University Art Galleries George Washington University Art Two galleries, includes painting, sculpture, and photographs, ranging from rare historic pieces to Washingtoniana and Americana to modern art
Georgetown University Art Galleries Georgetown University Art Located in the Walsh building and around the Georgetown campus[3]
German-American Heritage Museum of the USA German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA Ethnic German American German-American history and culture, housed in a Victorian townhouse
Heurich House Museum Independent Historic house Gilded Age mansion with early household innovations
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens Independent Decorative arts Estate and gardens of Marjorie Merriweather Post, rooms decorated with her collections of 18th- and 19th-century French art, china and art treasures from Imperial Russia
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Smithsonian Institution Art Contemporary and modern art
Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Independent History, Library Exhibits of the city's history from its collections
Howard University Gallery of Art Howard University Art Located in Childers Hall, home of the Fine Arts Division of the College of Arts and Sciences[4]
Interior Museum United States Department of the Interior History Activities of the agencies of the United States Department of the Interior, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and United States Geological Survey
International Spy Museum Independent History Espionage history, artifacts, famous figures
Kreeger Museum Independent Art 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures by internationally known artists, works by local Washington artists, traditional west and central African art
Laogai Museum Laogai Research Foundation Human Rights This museum confronts the tragic legacy of China's Laogai system of forced labor prisons.
L. Ron Hubbard House Church of Scientology Historic house Residence of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard from 1955 until 1959
Library of Congress Library of Congress Library Exhibits from its collections in American history, culture and art
Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum Independent Ethnic – Jewish history History of the local Jewish community; preserves the oldest synagogue building in the Washington, D.C., area; operated by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
Lincoln Memorial National Park Service History Includes displays about the building of the Memorial and some of Lincoln's phrases
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site National Park Service Historic house Home of educator and civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune
Meridian House Meridian International Center Art Exhibitions of paintings, photographs, sculptures, videos, and crafts that reflect various aspects of American culture to encourage foreign understanding
Museum of the Bible National Christian Foundation Religious Documents the narrative, history and impact of the Bible.
National Air and Space Museum Smithsonian Institution Aerospace History and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics
National Archives National Archives and Records Administration Archives / History Exhibits from its collections including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and a copy of the 1297 Magna Carta confirmed by Edward I
National Bonsai and Penjing Museum National Bonsai Foundation Natural history Located on the campus of the United States National Arboretum, Bonsai and Penjing botanical specimens and displays
National Building Museum Independent Architecture Exhibits about architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning
National Children's Museum Independent Children's Serves children up to age 12 and their families through interactive exhibits exploring science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
National Deaf Life Museum Gallaudet University Culture/history Permanent and rotating exhibits chronicling deaf culture and history
National Gallery of Art Independent Art Paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts that trace the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present
National Geographic Museum National Geographic Society Natural history Operated by the National Geographic Society, changing exhibits of photography, natural history, culture and history
National Guard Memorial Museum National Guard (United States) Military History of the National Guard of the United States from the Revolutionary War era to post-9/11 era
National Law Enforcement Museum National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund History/

Forensic Science

Dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement by providing visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience. The interactive exhibits and insightful programs are intended to expand and enrich the relationship shared by law enforcement and the community.
National Museum of African American History and Culture Smithsonian Institution Ethnic – African American National museum devoted to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. Opened September 24, 2016.[5]
National Museum of African Art Smithsonian Institution Art African art and culture, includes paintings, musical instruments, sculpture, jewelry, regalia, textiles, pottery
National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution History American social, political, cultural, scientific and military history
National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institution Ethnic – Native American Life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere
National Museum of American Jewish Military History Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Ethnic – Jewish – Military – History Jewish Americans who served in the armed forces
National Museum of Asian Art Smithsonian Institution Art Featuring 45,000 works of Asian art. Consists of two adjoining buildings, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution Natural history Galleries include paleontology, geology, mammals, human origins, insects, ocean life, gems and minerals, Western, African and Korean cultures
National Museum of Women in the Arts Independent Art Women's achievements in the visual, performing and literary arts
National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution Art – History Images and history of famous individual Americans
National Postal Museum Smithsonian Institution Philately History of the United States Postal Service and of mail service around the world
The Octagon House American Institute of Architects Historic house Early 19th-century townhouse
Old Korean Legation Museum Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation Historic house Late 19th-century townhouse that served as the Korean legation from 1889 to 1905.
Old Stone House National Park Service Historic house Mid 18th century period house, the oldest unchanged building in Washington, D.C.
O Street Museum Foundation Independent Art The collection rotates and changes daily and includes art, music, architecture, memorabilia, manuscripts, sculpture and other items that promote exploration of the creative process.
The Phillips Collection Independent Art American and European impressionist and modern art
Planet Word Independent Language Arts Language and words
President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home Independent Historic house Cottage retreat of President Abraham Lincoln and other Presidents
Renwick Gallery Smithsonian Institution Decorative arts American craft and decorative arts from the 19th century to the 21st century
Rubell Museum DC Independent Contemporary art Washington, D.C. satellite of the Miami-based Rubell Museum
Saint John Paul II National Shrine Knights of Columbus Religion Life and papacy of Pope John Paul II and the history of Catholic heritage in North America
Salve Regina Gallery Catholic University of America Art Part of Catholic University of America[6]
House of the Temple Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Masonic Masonic principles of personal, social and intellectual freedom, artifacts of American history, Masonic regalia and memorabilia
S. Dillon Ripley Center Smithsonian Institution Exhibition Exhibits of art, photography
Belmont–Paul Women's Equality National Monument National Park Service Historic house – History U.S. women's suffrage and equal-rights movements
Smithsonian American Art Museum Smithsonian Institution Art American art that covers all regions and art movements found in the United States
Textile Museum George Washington University Textiles Textiles from around the world including rugs, clothing, located at George Washington University
Tudor Place Independent Historic house Mansion with European and American decorative arts including American silver, porcelain, furniture, glassware, sculpture, portraits, prints, and textiles
United States Capitol United States Capitol Government Tours of the building
United States Capitol Visitor Center United States Capitol History History of the U.S. Capitol and Congress
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Independent History History of the Holocaust in Europe
National Museum of the United States Navy United States Navy Maritime – Military History of the U.S. Navy from the American Revolution to the present, naval artifacts, models, documents and fine art
Washington Monument National Park Service History
White House White House Historical Association Historic house Official state residence of the president of the United States, tours by advance reservation
The Wilderness Society Gallery The Wilderness Society (United States) Photography Exhibits from its collections, including photos by Ansel Adams[7]
Woman's National Democratic Club Museum Woman's National Democratic Club Historic house website, political memorabilia, artwork, and photographs in the Whittemore House
Woodrow Wilson House Independent Historic house Home of President Woodrow Wilson after he left office

Defunct museums[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About us". Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives". Facebook. Retrieved 2023-11-22.
  3. ^ "Art Galleries". Georgetown University Department of Art and Art History. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Gallery of Art". Howard University. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Smithsonian Opening African-American History Museum Sept. 24". Associated Press. February 1, 2016. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "Exhibitions at Salve Regina Gallery". Catholic University of America. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Visitor Information". The Wilderness Society. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  8. ^ "DCist: Bead Museum to Close". Archived from the original on 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2009-03-02. Bead Museum to Close, DCist, Dec. 24, 2008
  9. ^ "Black Fashion Museum collection finds a fine home with Smithsonian". The Washington Post. May 23, 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Black Fashion Museum, African American Heritage Trail". Cultural Tourism DC. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  11. ^ "MOCHA History". Museum of Cultures and Heritages of America — "MOCHA". 10 March 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Madame Tussauds shutters in D.C. after 14 years". Washington Business Journal. 21 July 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Wood collection of cartoon and caricature drawings". Library of Congress. Retrieved 9 December 2017. During his professional life, Wood worked diligently to establish a museum or gallery to preserve and showcase his collection. He achieved his goal in 1995 with the opening of the National Gallery of Caricature and Cartoon Art in downtown Washington, D.C., but the gallery closed in 1997, due to a lack of sustained funding.
  14. ^ "B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum® - Virtual Gallery - B'nai B'rith International". Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-04. B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum – Virtual Gallery
  15. ^ "Decision coming on national Jewish museum in D.C",, 9/29/2011
  16. ^ "National Museum of Crime & Punishment in D.C. to close Sept. 30 as it looks for a new home - Washington Business Journal". Archived from the original on 2015-09-01.
  17. ^ McGlone, Peggy; Roig-Franzia, Manuel (February 1, 2019). "The Newseum was a grand tribute to the power of journalism. Here's how it failed". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 2, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  18. ^ "Flora Gill Jacibs, 87, Who Opened Doll House Museum, Dies". NY Times. June 12, 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Washington Dolls' House & Toy Museum founder's collection heading to market". Antique Trader Antiques Auction News. March 23, 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Display Ship USS BARRY leaving Washington Navy Yard". Historic Naval Ships Association. February 2, 2015. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.

External links[edit]