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National Museum Of African Art

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National Museum of African Art


The National Museum of African Art is a Smithsonian museum dedicated to the art of sub-Saharan Africa. Located next to the Castle on the National Mall, the National Museum of African Art has over 7,000 artifacts in its collection.

The National Museum of African Art was originally formed in 1964 as a private educational foundation devoted to the traditional arts of Africa. Today, the museum houses over 7,000 artifacts from sub-Saharan Africa including masks, carvings, gongs and clothing. These artifacts represent hundreds of African cultures as well as the work of contemporary African artists.

The permanent collection is divided into five sections; the sculpture of sub-Saharan Africa, the art of Benin, the pottery of Central Africa, the archaeology of the ancient Nubian city of Kerma, and the artistry of utilitarian objects.

The National Museum of African Art is known for its architecture as well as its renowned collection. Along with the Freer Gallery of Art (Sackler Gallery), the National Museum of African Art is one of the Smithsonian’s two underground museums. The rooftops of these two neighboring museums meet behind the Castle to form the Enid a. Haupt Memorial Garden, the world’s largest rooftop garden..

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