National Museum of Women in the Arts

By DullesMoms, Oct 2023

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts.

Located in Washington, DC, just a few blocks from The White House, NMWA was established by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and her husband, Wallace Holladay. The Holladays began collecting artwork in the 1960s, and as their collection grew, so did their appreciation for the significant contributions of women artists throughout history, which often went under-recognized.

Motivated to highlight them, the Holladays embarked on a journey to gather artworks by female artists, forming the foundational collection of the museum. Established in 1981 as a private, nonprofit institution, NMWA welcomed the public for the first time on April 7, 1987.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts aims to rectify the historical marginalization of women in the art world by showcasing the diverse achievements of women artists from the Renaissance to the present day. It boasts an impressive collection of over 6,000 works of art created by more than 1,500 artists, including renowned figures such as Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Apart from its permanent collection, the NMWA also offers a variety of rotating exhibitions, educational programs, and advocacy initiatives to promote gender equality in the arts. Its elegant architecture, which once served as a Masonic temple (ironically where female members were banned), adds to the museum’s allure. As an institution, NMWA plays a crucial role in ensuring that the artistic contributions of women are celebrated, studied, and preserved for future generations.

NMWA is open Tuesday through Sunday. Entry is fee-based, however, guests are invited to enjoy free admission on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of every month (always check to confirm before visiting).


National Museum of Women in the Arts • Wash, DC (Map)


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