Renwick Gallery is at 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. at 17th St. N.W. The Renwick, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is dedicated to artists who explore traditional as well as innovative approaches to craft making. The gallery displays one of the country's finest collections of contemporary American crafts and also features changing special exhibitions.
The Second Empire-style building, a National Historic Landmark, was designed in 1858 by American architect James Renwick Jr., who also designed the Smithsonian Castle and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Completed in 1874, it was the first building in the country designed specifically as an art museum.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy led the campaign to save the building as part of her plan to restore Lafayette Square in the 1960s. It reopened in 2015 after a major 2-year renovation. Selections from the contemporary craft collection show the interconnectivity of the artworks and the overlapping stories they tell. Leo Villareal's constantly changing light sculpture “Volume (Renwick)” is on view above the Grand Staircase.
Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.