Artwork by Ursula von Rydingsvard at the NMWA
Artwork by Ursula von Rydingsvard at the NMWA

New Space for Women’s Stories

The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens after 2 years.

Walk around a museum, and you’ll see all sorts of artwork. Perhaps you’ll spot paintings or prints. You might see some sculptures. However, most art pieces in big museums are alike in one way: They were made by men. One museum includes only art created by women. It’s the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA).

The NMWA opened in 1987 in Washington, D.C. It was the first museum on Earth dedicated to female artists. Its collection includes more than 6,000 pieces from over 1,500 artists, dating from the 1500s through the 2020s. However, the museum building was from 1908 and needed repairs. In August 2021, NMWA had to close for . Workers fixed the roof and the outside of the building. On October 21, the museum celebrated its reopening!

This was the first major renovation in the history of the NMWA. But workers did more than repair the exterior of the historic building in America’s capital city. They updated and protected spaces inside the museum as well. For example, construction workers made the gallery spaces larger. And they built more support into the building so that the walls can hold heavier sculptures.

The curators at the NMWA took advantage of these new spaces. When the museum reopened after more than two years (and $67 million), it featured a brand-new art titled The Sky’s the Limit. This collection includes work from 13 contemporary artists, and many of their artwork hangs from the ceilings and walls.

For example, Beatriz Milhazes’s large sculpture dangles down from the white ceiling. The object is made of colorful chains, balls, and beads that sparkle around the room. The huge sculptures of Ursula von Rydingsvard stand tall in another room. Her abstract artwork is made from beams of carved cedar wood. One piece, by British artist Cornelia Parker, shows 30 silver-plated items (including spoons and forks) suspended with thin wire — forming a circle shape floating above the floor!

Museum officials celebrated the reopening in a big way. Visitors were able to listen to music performances, make art, and hear museum workers and artists talk about the art. People at the NMWA also got to explore the new Learning Commons and research center. There, visitors can read in the library and practice art.

The reopening of NMWA helps more people learn more women’s stories. After all, art tells stories. If a museum is mostly showing works from male artists, then many stories by women are being left out. Muriel Bowser — the mayor of Washington, D.C. — spoke about that.

“Art and artists, and the stories they tell, add so much to the and color of D.C.,” said Bowser. The American leader said she was “proud to, once again, have this incredible museum dedicated to uplifting and the stories of women.”

Updated October 24, 2023, 5:03 P.M. (ET)
By Hannah Marcum

New Space for Women’s Stories

The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens after 2 years.

Artwork by Ursula von Rydingsvard at the NMWA
Artwork by Ursula von Rydingsvard at the NMWA

Walk around a museum, and you’ll see all sorts of artwork. Perhaps you’ll spot paintings or prints. You might see some sculptures. However, most art pieces in big museums are alike in one way: They were made by men. One museum includes only art created by women. It’s the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA).

The NMWA opened in 1987 in Washington, D.C. It was the first museum on Earth dedicated to female artists. Its collection includes more than 6,000 pieces from over 1,500 artists, dating from the 1500s through the 2020s. However, the museum building was from 1908 and needed repairs. In August 2021, NMWA had to close for . Workers fixed the roof and the outside of the building. On October 21, the museum celebrated its reopening!

This was the first major renovation in the history of the NMWA. But workers did more than repair the exterior of the historic building in America’s capital city. They updated and protected spaces inside the museum as well. For example, construction workers made the gallery spaces larger. And they built more support into the building so that the walls can hold heavier sculptures.

The curators at the NMWA took advantage of these new spaces. When the museum reopened after more than two years (and $67 million), it featured a brand-new art titled The Sky’s the Limit. This collection includes work from 13 contemporary artists, and many of their artwork hangs from the ceilings and walls.

For example, Beatriz Milhazes’s large sculpture dangles down from the white ceiling. The object is made of colorful chains, balls, and beads that sparkle around the room. The huge sculptures of Ursula von Rydingsvard stand tall in another room. Her abstract artwork is made from beams of carved cedar wood. One piece, by British artist Cornelia Parker, shows 30 silver-plated items (including spoons and forks) suspended with thin wire — forming a circle shape floating above the floor!

Museum officials celebrated the reopening in a big way. Visitors were able to listen to music performances, make art, and hear museum workers and artists talk about the art. People at the NMWA also got to explore the new Learning Commons and research center. There, visitors can read in the library and practice art.

The reopening of NMWA helps more people learn more women’s stories. After all, art tells stories. If a museum is mostly showing works from male artists, then many stories by women are being left out. Muriel Bowser — the mayor of Washington, D.C. — spoke about that.

“Art and artists, and the stories they tell, add so much to the and color of D.C.,” said Bowser. The American leader said she was “proud to, once again, have this incredible museum dedicated to uplifting and the stories of women.”

Updated October 24, 2023, 5:03 P.M. (ET)
By Hannah Marcum

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