National Portrait Gallery

Sandra Day O'Connor, Michael Arthur Worden Evans, circa 1982

How Sandra Day O’Connor Brought Compromise to the Supreme Court

The first woman justice to serve on the nation's highest court died on Friday at age 93

This year's titles include Daughter of the Dragon, Whalefall and Witness.

Smithsonian Scholars Recommend Their Favorite Books of 2023

Curators and staffers satisfied their endless curiosity with novels, short stories, biographies, art collections and journalistic reporting

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter dancing at the presidential Inaugural Ball in January 1977

From the Governor's Mansion to the White House and Beyond, Rosalynn Carter Was a Tireless Advocate for the Vulnerable

Smithsonian experts reflect on the life and legacy of the former first lady, who died Sunday at age 96

When the National Portrait Gallery opened more than a half-century ago, just 17 percent of its collection represented women—either as subjects or creators (above: Carmen de Lavallade, Michele Mattei, 2003, printed 2018). Today, that number has roughly doubled.

Beyoncé, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Other Iconic Women Take Their Place at the Smithsonian

This year, the National Portrait Gallery's annual showcase of new acquisitions spotlights female subjects and female artists

Julie Packard by Hope Gangloff is on view at the National Portrait Gallery in the new show, "Forces of Nature: Voices That Shaped Environmentalism."

Meet the Steely Gaze of Environmentalism

A new show at the National Portrait Gallery focuses on the defenders of Mother Earth over the past 150 years

Frederick Douglass, Unidentified Artist, Sixth-plate daguerreotype c. 1841

Why We Need to Understand Frederick Douglass Now More Than Ever

The great orator was a branding genius, and a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases his motivations

In its second installment, “AeroEspacial” tells the story of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which housed the world’s largest radio telescope for over 50 years.

An In-Depth Look at Latino History Among the Stars and Skies

This summer, a podcast series from the National Air and Space Museum discusses Operation Pedro Pan, Latino Futurism and “Star Wars”

The "1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions" exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery through February 25, 2024.

How the War of 1898 Changed History Forever—in the United States and Beyond

When the nascent naval power invaded Puerto Rico, three artists captured the moment, each explaining its significance in their own way

Tony Bennett painting in June 1971

Tony Bennett's Passion for Art Lives On in His Paintings

Smithsonian curators reflect on the beloved crooner's legacy as a musician and visual artist

"1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions" exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

See a Life-Size Portrait of Queen Lili‘uokalani, the Last Reigning Monarch of Hawai‘i

The William Cogswell painting, now on display at the National Portrait Gallery, was likely a means for the ruler to assert her right to the throne

The new exhibition “1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions” aims to shine a light on the controversial period when the United States intervened in Cuba, Guam, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. (above: President William McKinley, Francisco Oller, 1898, detail).

The Overlooked Histories Behind America’s Rise as a World Power

The National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibition addresses the War of 1898, a pivotal but often forgotten period in history

Tens of thousands of people in the United States may be connected to this album, which museum officials say offers an "unprecedented opportunity for people of mixed heritage, especially, to access never-before-seen ancestral portraits."

Find Out If Your Ancestor Is Among These 19th-Century Silhouettes in This Newly Digitized Collection

The itinerant artist William Bache’s portraits are contaminated by arsenic, but now the National Portrait Gallery offers easy access

Photographed before her death in 1987, Septima Clark helped win African Americans the right to teach in Charleston, South Carolina. 

The Power of Portraits

An exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases the photography of Brian Lanker—and the remarkable lives of his subjects

“Abraham Lincoln” (1865) by W.F.K. Travers in the "America's Presidents" gallery at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, on loan from the Hartley Dodge Foundation.

Life-Size 1865 Portrait of Abraham Lincoln Stands Tall at the National Portrait Gallery

The W.F.K. Travers painting hid in plain sight at a New Jersey town hall for 80 years before it was restored and brought back to Washington

Miriam Wosk's illustration of a blue-skinned, eight-armed multitasking woman adorned the first cover of Ms. magazine. "Making her blue was a way of making her universal," says Gloria Steinem in this month's "Portraits" podcast.

Explore the Founding of 'Ms.' Magazine and the Making of a Space Telescope Photograph in This Month’s Featured Podcasts

“AirSpace” speaks to astronomer Shauna Edson and “Portraits” drops in on activist and author Gloria Steinhem

At the Natural History Museum, "Cellphone: Unseen Connections" opens June 23; at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, "Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols" goes on view May 13; and "Ay-Ō's Happy Rainbow Hell" is part of the National Museum of Asian Art's centennial exhibitions, opening March 25.

Twenty-Three Smithsonian Shows to See in 2023

A rare Bible, George Clinton's colorful wig, Disney World history and Japanese ghosts debut this year

Philip Pearlstein (above in his studio, June 1971) was "unwaveringly interested in the landscape of the body,” says Stephanie Stebich, the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

Philip Pearlstein Painted the Naked Truth

Smithsonian curators remember the celebrated artist, who died last month at 98, and who viewed humanity with biting realism

Family Portrait from the series "The Lams of Ludlow Street," by Thomas Holton, 2004

How These Contemporary Artists Are Redefining Family and Kinship

Explore the enduring bonds and intimacies of modern love at the National Portrait Gallery

The 1989 photograph, Maya Lin working on Civil Rights Memorial by Adam Stoltman, is among numerous works including 3D models, sketchbooks, personal papers and family photos in the exhibition, "One Life: Maya Lin," at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. 

The Private World of the Public Artist Maya Lin

A biographical exhibition reveals the profound origins of her intensely engaging art

This year's titles include I Was Better Last Night, Accidental Ecosystem and Winslow Homer: American Passage.

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2022

This wide-ranging list offers context for our rapidly changing world

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