Traveling Exhibition Program

Bring the Smithsonian American Art Museum to your institution! Book one of our touring exhibitions today and share our inspiring collection with your community. 

For more than 70 years, SAAM has been dedicated to making its permanent collection and special exhibitions available across the United States and internationally through our traveling exhibition program. This program is designed to offer institutions ready access to showcase new scholarship and collaborate with SAAM’s expert team. In turn, these traveling exhibitions allow us to expand our audience and to ensure that more Americans enjoy the most significant and inclusive collection of American art in the world.  

Ready to bring a SAAM exhibition to your institution? For more information about booking traveling exhibitions, pricing for U.S. and international institutions, checklists, and spacing requirements please contact SAAM's registrars at  

Sign Up for Our Traveling Exhibitions Newsletter

A woman stands in front of a red wall showing 7 graphic artworks

Museum professionals are encouraged to sign up for our regularly circulating email newsletter. Be the first to know about what exhibitions are available for booking and learn more about ways to bring SAAM artworks to your institution.

General Requirements for Exhibitors

  • The exhibitor must be a nonprofit institution, essentially educational and aesthetic in purpose, that collects works of art and exhibits them to the public.  
  • The exhibitor must have available professional staff trained in handling artwork. 
  • The exhibitor must meet climate and security requirements and must submit an American Association of Museums’ standard facilities report. 

Scheduling and Participation Fees

  • Exhibitions are usually scheduled for twelve-week periods, allowing a few weeks between venues for packing and shipping.  
  • Participation fees vary by exhibition and location. They include costs of preparing the works for travel, packing, crating, transportation (including couriers if necessary), and insurance under the museum's policy. 
  • For information about current and international fees, please contact Edward Bray, Acting Senior Assistant Registrar, Exhibitions & Loans at or call (202) 633-8408.  

Available Exhibition Materials and Services

  • Published catalogues, brochures, and additional materials may be available.  
  • Three working copies of the catalogue will be provided free of charge, with additional copies available to be ordered at a discount. 
  • Posters, notecards, and other items may be available at a discount for resale in the exhibitor’s shop. Visit our online shop for examples of our products. 
  • A sample press release may be sent to each exhibitor, along with images that can be used for publicity.  
  • Exhibition labels and intro panel text are provided electronically in Microsoft Word format. 
  • Standards-based educational resources for grades K-12 may be available online and adaptable to traveling exhibitions and with support from the Education Department. Including artist interviews, lesson plans, and interactive online activities. Ask about real-time videoconference programs for schools and adults. Curators may be available to lecture on request. 

Exhibitions Available to Book Now

Alma Thomas, The Eclipse, 1970, acrylic on canvas
Composing Color: Paintings By Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas is a singular figure in the story of twentieth-century American art. Her vibrant, rhythmic art transcended established genres, incorporating elements of gestural abstraction and color field painting. This exhibition provides an intimate view of Alma Thomas’ evolving artistic practices during her most prolific period from 1959 to her death in 1978. Recent research reveals how she was continually innovative, adapting to personal health challenges later in her life.   

This exhibition features 19 paintings, most of which were gifts of the artist to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

Learn more about this exhibition and the featured artist.

Current Tour Schedule 

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum: September 15, 2023 – August 4, 2024 
  • Denver Art Museum: September 8, 2024 – January 12, 2025
  • Memorial Art Gallery: February 8, 2025 – May 25, 2025
  • Available: Summer 2025
  • Available: Fall 2025
Painting of rolling green hills with people an
Grandma Moses: A Good Day’s Work

This exhibition sheds new light on a beloved body of work by Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860–1961). It examines the sociocultural forces that Moses would variously reflect on or obscure in her paintings and positions her as a central figure in the history of twentieth-century American art. Grandma Moses: A Good Day’s Work introduces the to younger generations and examines the her legacy in the context of America today.

Media - 2020.54.1 - SAAM-2020.54.1_2 - 139600
Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies

Musical Thinking explores the powerful resonances between recent video art and the popular art of music. The exhibition focuses on video art that employs the strategies of musical creation—like scores, improvisation and interpretation—as well as its styles, structures, and lyrics to speak to the personal, as well as shared, aspects of American life.

Learn more about this exhibition and featured artists.

Detail of a multicolored quilt with a blue center star design.
Pattern and Paradox: The Quilts of Amish Women

Discover the intersection of tradition and innovation through stunning quilts. In the late nineteenth century, Amish women adopted an artform already established within the larger American culture and made it distinctly their own. In this exhibition, explore the creative practice of these quilters in the United States who looked beyond quilting as a utilitarian practice, twinning the plain with the spectacular.

Learn more about this exhibition and featured artists.

A vivid illustration of a person with butterfly wings. On the person's body are the words "I exist/yo existo." The wings have messages of love, family, and migration.
Radical Histories: Chicanx Prints from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Since the 1960s, Chicanx artists have used the graphic medium to disseminate declarations of political advocacy, cross-cultural solidarity, and historical reflections to rethink the past. Radical Histories concentrates on Chicanx artists’ efforts to contest and dismantle American history, creating graphic counter-histories from ancient to contemporary. There is a persistent unlearning that the featured works request, openly defying notions of American exceptionalism, heteronormativity, whiteness, and borders.

Learn more about this exhibition and featured artists.

Media - 2022.11.5 - SAAM-2022.11.5_1 - 147440
Unreal: Photorealist Paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

From the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Photorealist painters helped define the image of postwar America. Artists such as Tom Blackwell, Audrey Flack, and Ralph Goings trained their eyes on the everyday places and things in world around them. Unreal explores the movement’s artistry and artifices, showing how its practitioners created an image of modern life that made it appear as though it just existed.

This exhibition features 22 iconic works by 19 artists and celebrates a major gift to SAAM by Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel of paintings from their collection.

Learn more about this exhibition and featured artists.