Features

When the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) was established by Congress in 1962, its founding legislation dictated that the museum was limited to collecting paintings and statuary. As NPG Assistant Curator of Photographs Leslie Ureña pointed out, “the history of portraiture is for the elite, so we had...
When 25-year-old Gordon Parks picked up his first camera around 1937, he had already survived a period of homelessness, tried his hand at composing music, and worked as a waiter on one of Northern Pacific Railway’s luxury trains. He was years away from being Life magazine’s first African-American...
While art museums can be wonderful places for sparking our imaginations, they can also be, well, a little intimidating. For one thing, it’s sometimes hard to see them as places of fun when you think you’re going to spend most of the time telling your kids, “No, don’t touch that!” And then, of...
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, DC, which has previously received National Endowment for the Arts grant support, has taken the plunge into fashion with an exhibit focused on Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sibling designers behind the label Rodarte. Featuring work from...
My favorite menorah growing up was the smallest and shabbiest one we owned. But it was also the most special. It was made in Palestine and purchased by my great-great-grandfather in Austria, an object that he considered so precious that it became one of the few items he brought to the U.S. as he...
U.S. museums have only recently started to grapple with the idea that art by Native Americans is, in fact, American art. At Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, however, it’s not a question that’s up for debate. Crystal Bridges Curator Mindy N. Besaw—one of three co-curators of...
The interior hallways of the American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is nestled like a glittering jewel in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. There are no white walls and solemn security guards telling children...
According to many museum educators, one of the best ways to prepare a child for an art museum is through books. While you can choose to read a book about the general museum experience , you can also hone in on a specific exhibit you plan to see and find books with corresponding themes and subjects...
“Silhouettes to me tell all of these different stories about early America that otherwise we would never be able to tell here at the Portrait Gallery. It's just a complete wonderful, messy vision of an early America that I want people to understand. It's not just the presidents walking around and...
When Roger Ideishi was helping a Philadelphia aquarium develop programming for children with cognitive and sensory disorders, he surveyed parents to see whether or not they thought their child would engage with programming by touching a starfish. “Every single parent said their child would not...

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