< Go back

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
  • Red loop

The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in Washington, D.C., administered by the Smithsonian Institution. Its collections focus on images of famous individual Americans. It resides in the National Historic Landmarked Old Patent Office Building (now renamed the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture), located just south of Chinatown in the Penn Quarter district of downtown Washington. The third oldest federal building in the city, constructed between 1836 and 1867, the marble and granite museum has porticoes modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The building was used as a hospital during the Civil War. Walt Whitman worked there and used his experiences as a basis for The Wound Dresser. The Bureau of Indian Affairs moved into the building after the war ended.