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 Smithsonians two underground museums. The
rooftops of these two neighboring museums meet behind the Castle to form the Enid a. Haupt
Memorial Garden, the worlds largest rooftop garden..