The Renwick Gallery is a luscious French Second Empire–style building across the street from the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. But even with such lofty neighbors, it is still the most appealing architecture on the block. This was the first purpose-built museum in Washington, D.C., and it was known at the time as "the American Louvre." The words "dedicated to art" are engraved above the entrance. Designed by James Renwick in 1859 to hold the
art collection of Washington merchant and banker William Wilson Corcoran, the National Historic Landmark building today is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Museum is currently closed for a two-year renovation project. Upon reopening in 2016, the museum will showcase its collection in a captivating, interactive environment.