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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

About the Luce Foundation Center

Image of visit enjoys the Luce Foundation Center

Visitor enjoys the Luce Foundation Center

The Smithsonian American Art Museum's Luce Foundation Center for American Art is the first visible art storage and study center in Washington, D.C. This innovative public space provides new ways to experience American art. The Luce Foundation Center's imaginative design allows visitors to select an area to explore at a glance with more than 3,000 works from the permanent collection in 64 secure glass cases.

The Luce Foundation Center, which occupies 20,400 square feet on the third and fourth floors of the museum's historic building, features paintings densely hung on screens; sculptures, contemporary craft and folk art objects arranged on shelves; and portrait miniatures, bronze medals and jewelry in drawers that slide open with the touch of a button. Large-scale 19th- and 20th-century sculptures are displayed on the main floor. The center also exhibits highlights from John Gellatly's European collection of decorative arts.

Ten award-winning interactive computer kiosks provide the public with information about every object on display and include discussions of each artwork, artist biographies, audio interviews, still images and nearly 70 videos created exclusively for the center. Museum staff members are available at the Luce Foundation Center information desk seven days a week to answer visitor questions and conduct tours. Free public wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) is available in the Luce Foundation Center.

Visit our Interact page for information on public programs and ongoing activities.


Image of visitor explores the Interactive Computer Kiosks

Visitor explores the Interactive Computer Kiosks

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Luce Foundation Center Staff
Bridget Callahan
Luce Foundation Center Coordinator

Mary Tait
Luce Foundation Center Program Specialist

If you have a question or would like to schedule a tour, please contact the Luce Foundation Center information desk during Museum hours (11.30am - 7.00pm) at the following numbers:

(202) 633-5435
(202) 633-5436

or E-mail:

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

11:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. daily
Closed December 25



Image of miniatures are displayed in pneumatic drawers

Over 400 portrait miniatures are displayed in pneumatic drawers

In 2001, the Henry Luce Foundation gave $10 million to establish the Luce Foundation Center for American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The center opened July 1, 2006, following an extensive renovation of the museum's historic building.

Other centers supported by the Henry Luce Foundation include the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Henry Luce III Center at the New-York Historical Society, and the Luce Center for American Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The Henry Luce Foundation has funded these study centers out of a profound desire to acquaint more museum visitors with the diversity and excellence of American art.

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