West Building Renovations
(through spring 2024)
A two-year project will repair stone on the West Building exterior, replace select roofing areas, and make improvements to our National Mall entrance doors and southwest lawn. During this work, sections of the Main Floor galleries will be off view for six to eight months, with select highlights being relocated to Ground Floor galleries G37, G39, and G41.
More details below.
The following projected schedule for closures is subject to change:
Southwest quadrant, June 2022–early 2023
The southwest quadrant of the Main Floor is off view. This includes 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings in galleries 42–51, showcasing works by well-known masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and Peter Paul Rubens. The closure also affects galleries 29–34 and 36–37, which display 17th- to 18th-century Italian, Spanish, and French paintings; as well as galleries 35–35A and 38–41A, which contain 15th- to 16th-century Netherlandish and German paintings and sculptures. In addition, in the northwest corner of the Main Floor, galleries 18–21 are closed.
Southeast quadrant, early 2023–summer 2023
Main floor galleries 52–71 will be closed. This includes American and British paintings and sculptures showcasing works by Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Gilbert Stuart, and James McNeill Whistler as well as the installation Conversations: Carrie Mae Weems and The Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial. Galleries 52–56, which display 18th- and 19th-century French and Spanish paintings and sculptures by Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Francisco Goya, and others, are also closed.
Northwest quadrant, summer 2023–early 2024
The northwest quadrant of the Main Floor will be off view. These galleries include 13th-to 16th-century Italian paintings and sculptures in galleries 1–13 from masters such as Fra Angelico, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea del Verrocchio, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de' Benci (c. 1474/1478). Sixteenth-century Italian, French, and Spanish paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts in galleries 1–28 displaying El Greco, Raphael, Titian, and Jacopo Tintoretto, among others, will also close.
In summer 2023, stone repair will begin on the south portico at the National Mall entrance. Scaffolding will cover the façade as work continues through 2023. This entrance may experience brief, intermittent closure during this time as the scaffolding is erected and new doors are installed.
Northeast quadrant, early 2024–summer 2024
The northeast quadrant of the Main Floor is off view. This includes galleries 80–93, which house 19th-century French paintings from impressionist and post-impressionist masters such as Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. Exhibition space in galleries 72–79 will also be off view.
East Building Renovations
In the East Building, work has been underway since 2019 to renovate the galleries on the west side, improve accessibility throughout the building, overhaul select building systems, and replace the iconic Atrium skylight, which was original to the building and is over 40 years old. More details below.
Major renovations to the north side of the East Building were completed in 2016. Since 2019, additional work has been underway to renovate the galleries on the west side, improve accessibility throughout the building, overhaul select building systems, and replace the iconic Atrium skylight, which was original to the building and is over 40 years old.
From February until June 2022, the East Building is closed to accommodate the highest-impact renovation work, including the completion of the skylight replacement and the removal of related construction safety structures and equipment.
The major elements of this phase of work include:
Atrium skylight replacement
The Atrium skylight, a critical component of the East Building architecture, needed repair after 40 years. To replace its 23,000 square feet of glass, the National Gallery installed an elaborate system of sliding platforms to replace its triangular glass panels.
Alexander Calder’s mobile in the East Building Atrium was removed and protective enclosures were installed around other large sculptures in summer 2020 to accommodate this work. The Calder mobile will be reinstalled in fall 2022.
Accessible double doors were installed in the East Building main entrance and new ADA-compliant restrooms have been constructed on the Ground Level near the Study Center entrance. The existing, ADA-compliant family restrooms one floor above, on the Mezzanine, were updated.
Near the East Building Auditorium, visitors will also find a separate lobby for the accessible elevator, which has been modernized.
East Building Auditorium updates
Separate auditorium and elevator lobbies were created to improve accessibility and visitor experience. The auditorium seats are being refurbished and recovered in their original (1978) rust color, and lighting has been improved. For the first time, the public will also be able to access restrooms immediately adjacent to the East Building Auditorium.
Tower 3 and West Galleries (Upper Level)
In addition to restroom renovations on the Mezzanine, new and refurbished wood floors, lighting, and laylights are being installed in Tower 3—which houses temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art—and in the West Galleries on the Upper Level. Fire and public safety improvements include new emergency exits and stairwell.
Artist Projects: Sarah Cain, Avish Khebrehzadeh, Kay Rosen
Three artists—each known for making works in temporary sites or architectural spaces—were commissioned to create special site-responsive installations to enliven the East Building during renovations. Kay Rosen's SORRY transformed the entryway of the East Building in an unexpected way from April 10, 2021, to March 27, 2022. Sarah Cain’s installation My favorite season is the fall of the patriarchy enlivened the Atrium from June 18 to October 3, 2021. Avish Khebrehzadeh brought her poetic works Tree of Life in Blue and Seven Silent Songs to the East Building from June 18, 2021, to February 27, 2022.