Smithsonian American Art Museum

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and PortraitureThe Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation’s first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience. The collection captures the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people throughout three centuries. The American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal key aspects of America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. More than 7,000 artists are represented in the collection, including major masters, such as John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Helen Frankenthaler, Christo, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Lee Friedlander, Nam June Paik, Martin Puryear, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Featured Exhibition: The Art of Gaman

The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946The Art of Gaman showcases arts and crafts made by Japanese Americans in U.S. internment camps during World War II. These objects—tools, teapots, furniture, toys and games, musical instruments, pendants and pins, purses and ornamental displays—are physical manifestations of the art of gaman, a Japanese word that means to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.

More information and a slideshow of objects from the exhibition.

Virtual Exhibition: Communities Overcoming Adversity through Art

This virtual exhibition highlights artworks in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum that reflect experiences of hardship. Through expression, these artworks contributed to the ability of these communities to overcome the adversity.

The selection of artworks reflects the experiences of a diverse group of American individuals and communities. Each artwork is accompanied by background information and additional resources. Click any of thumbnails below to open a PDF version which you can download and print.

Millard Sheets, Tenement Flats, 1933-1934, oil on canvas, 40 1/4 x 50 1/4 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1965.18.48 Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995, 49-channel closed circuit video installation, neon, steel and electronic components, approx. 15 x 40 x 4 ft., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 2002.23 Roger Shimomura, Diary: December 12, 1941, 1980, acrylic on canvas, 50 1/4 x 60 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1991.171
Sam Gilliam, April 4, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 110 x 179 3/4 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1973.115 Saul Berman, River Front, 1934, oil on canvas, 16 x 24 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.169 Emanuel Martinez, Farm Workers' Altar, 1967, acrylic on mahogany and plywood, 38 1/8 x 54 1/2 x 36 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the International Bank of Commerce in honor of Antonio R. Sanchez, Sr., 1992.95About the Artwork
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, State Names, 2000, oil, collage and mixed media on canvas, 48 x 72 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Elizabeth Ann Dugan and museum purchase, 2004.28 Justino Herrera, That Is No Longer Our Smoke Sign, ca. 1950s, watercolor and pencil on paperboard, sheet: 14 x 18 1/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Corbin-Henderson Collection, gift of Alice H. Rossin, 1979.144.99 Maria Castagliola, A Matter of Trust, 1994, paper on fiberglass screen with cotton thread, 72 x 72 x 1/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1995.21
   Edmonia Lewis, The Death of Cleopatra, carved 1876, marble 63 x 31 1/4 x 46 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Historical Society of Forest Park, Illinois, 1994.17  

Other Recommended Resources


SAAMHomepage of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The American Art Museum web site provides electronic resources to schools and the public through an array of interactive activities featuring rich media assets that can easily be used by anyone.


Search CollectionsSearch Collections

Search the archive of over 41,000 works of American Art, including more than 22,000 that have been digitized in high-resolution.


SAAM VideoconferencesClassroom Videoconferences

Visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum without leaving your school! Free of charge, we offer videoconference field trips for students from first grade through high school.


SAAM Professional DevelopmentProfessional Development

Find out about professional development opportunities for teachers, including summer institutes, and sign up for the teacher e-newsletter.



SAAM Student PodcastsStudent Podcasts

Listen to student podcasts about artworks in the American Art Museum’s collection.



Classroom ActivitiesOnline Classroom Activities

Explore a list of educational websites, online activities, and multimedia for students.



Classroom ResourcesClassroom Resources

Download classroom resources such as teacher guides, student activities, and lesson plans.



Online ExhibitionsOnline Exhibitions

Browse a large list of thematic exhibitions of American art.



MultimediaMultimedia

Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and enjoy other multimedia resources.



SAAM Eye LevelEyeLevel Blog

Read blog posts about American art.



Video Resources

Nam June Paik
Maria Castagliola (x4)
Meet the Artists
Meet Sam Gilliam
Meet Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith
Artwork by Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith


Share