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Washington, D.C. Sights

The Freer and Sackler galleries

  • Freer: 12th St. and Jefferson Dr. SW; Sackler: 1050 Independence Ave. SW Map It
  • The Mall

Updated 06/18/2014

Fodor's Review

The Smithsonian Institution has two museums of Asian art: the Freer Gallery of Art, which opened to the public in 1923, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which welcomed its first visitors in 1987. Both are physically connected by an underground passageway, and ideologically linked through the study, exhibition, and sheer love of Asian art. In addition, the Freer Gallery contains an important collection of 19th-century American art, punctuated by James McNeil Whistler's

Peacock Room.

Highlights

Marvel at the collections of Imperial Chinese decorative arts, including exquisite porcelain, gorgeous jade carvings and intricately painted silk scrolls.

Behold the bodhisattva: a 12th-century Japanese sculpture of a Buddhist approaching Nirvana.

Ogle the undulating curves of the 10th-century Indian bronze sculptures of the dancing god Shiva and his wife, the goddess Parvati.

Be amazed in the Peacock Room, a jewel box of a space designed by James McNeill Whistler, with its gold murals on peacock-blue walls, and a peacock-feather-pattern gold leaf ceiling. At noon on the 3rd Thursday of every month, the floor-to-ceiling shutters are opened, bathing the room in glittering natural light. The museum is home to the world's largest collection of Whistler paintings.

Admire the manuscripts of 15th-century Persian love poetry, in exquisite calligraphy accompanied with intricate gold and silver painted decoration.

Discover the voice of contemporary Asian artists through cutting-edge immersive installations in the Sackler Gallery.

Tips

The Freer and Sackler galleries are home to the largest Asian art research library in the United States, open to the public five days a week without an appointment.

Free highlight tours are held daily, except on Wednesday and federal holidays. There is often a variety of other free tours as well; ask at the information desks.

The museums regularly host films, concerts, talks, and other events. Visit the website to see what's on. Enhance your visit, or take the galleries home with you, with free iPad apps featuring the Peacock Room and select exhibitions.

In the family-oriented ImaginAsia workshops, held most weekends at the Sackler Gallery, children ages six to 14 and their adult companions create art ranging from origami to Chinese mirrors.

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Sight Information

Address:

Freer: 12th St. and Jefferson Dr. SW; Sackler: 1050 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20013-7012, United States

Map It

Phone:

202-633-4880

Website: www.asia.si.edu

Sight Details:

  • Free
  • Daily 10–5:30

Updated 06/18/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Sophia

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Nov 30, 2002

DON'T MISS IT!

A great collection of Asian art as well as the largest collection of Work by James Abbott McNeil Whistler, with some of his best works and the famous Peacock Room on display. The small, intimate gallery is a perfect setting for these works and can be viewed in little time. It connects underground with the Sackler Gallery and the Museum of African Art, perfect for avoiding the hot DC sun or rainy days. Best of all, these galleries are all free!

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