Reopening of the National Museum of Women in the Arts – major renovation, bold exhibitions, public programs


Installation view of Alison Saar’s Undone (2012), shown in The Sky’s the Limit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Photo by Jennifer Hughes, courtesy of NMWA

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) reopened on October 21 after two years of renovations. The museum now features renovated galleries with innovative presentations, inaugural exhibitions and a remodeled building.

NMWA is that first museum in the world which is exclusively dedicated to the advancement of women through the arts and advocates for better representation of female artists.

New works will be highlighted as the NMWA reopens, with nearly 40% of the works on view being exhibited at the NMWA for the first time and 70 of those works coming from the museum’s own collection.

The renovation is the museum’s first major renovation since it opened in 1987, including exterior restoration as well as expanded gallery spaces. The project was designed by Baltimore-based architectural firm Sandra Vicchio & Associates. The team restored the roof and magnificent brick and limestone facade in accordance with the DC Historic Preservation Office. They made upgrades to the Great Hall and Mezzanine, preserving the iconic spaces while improving functionality for art exhibitions, programs and events. The gallery spaces will be enlarged by more than 15%. Structural supports hidden above ceilings and within gallery walls can now accommodate the size and weight of monumental sculptures.

NMWA’s first major exhibition, The Sky’s the Limit, features contemporary sculptures and immersive installations by 13 international and U.S.-based artists. The exhibition shows 33 sculptures from 2003 to 2023 by artists Rina Banerjee, Sonya Clark, Petah Coyne, Beatriz Milhazes, Cornelia Parker, Mariah Robertson, Alison Saar, Davina Semo, Shinique Smith, Johanna Unzueta, Joana Vasconcelos, Ursula von Rydingsvard and Yuriko Yamaguchi. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog and can be seen until February 25, 2024.

NMWA has already announced a full schedule of events and workshops for the fall. NMWA offers free admission on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of every month. Details about ticket prices for regular entry dates can be found here.

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