Welcome to the National Museum of Asian Art
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s national museum of Asian art, are located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Committed to preserving, exhibiting and interpreting exemplary works of art, the Freer and Sackler address broad questions about culture, identity and the contemporary world. Together, the Freer and Sackler care for exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 40,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today and originating from the ancient Near East to China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world. Nearly a century old, the Freer Gallery of Art also holds a significant group of American works of art largely dating to the late 19th century. It houses the world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famed Peacock Room.
Two Smithsonian museums unite in the Freer and Sackler: the Freer Gallery of Art, which opened to the public in 1923, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which first welcomed visitors in 1987. Detroit businessman Charles Lang Freer and President Theodore Roosevelt saw in Asia an emerging force deserving of study and respect, and in 1906, Freer gave the nation his holdings of Asian and American art. Named for Dr. Arthur M. Sackler, the Sackler Gallery is an essential counterpoint to the Freer, showcasing his exemplary collections and allowing us to host special exhibitions of Asian art.
For those who have the power to see beauty . . . all works of art go together
—Charles Lang Freer
Great art and culture belongs to all mankind
—Arthur M. Sackler
Why Asia and America?
In 1890, Charles Lang Freer paid an unannounced call to artist James McNeill Whistler’s London studio. The two men would establish a long and fruitful partnership. Freer ultimately collected more than one thousand artworks by Whistler—including the Peacock Room—as well as significant holdings of work by other late nineteenth-century American artists.
Fascinated by the arts and cultures of Asia, Whistler also turned Freer’s attention East. By 1906, Freer had added a considerable number of Asian art and objects to his American collections. He came to share Whistler’s belief that the history of art was a “story of the beautiful” that transcended time and place. And when Freer conceived of a museum for his collections, he envisioned it as a monument to the “points of contact” between ancient and modern, East and West. We uphold this vision today, allowing the universality of art to connect us all.
View our strategic plan for FY2020–2025.
Board of Trustees
Meet the current and honorary members of the Freer and Sackler Board of Trustees, as of February 2021.
Meet the world-class people behind our world-class museums.
Freer and Sackler public programs illuminate where Asia meets America, stimulating curiosity and transforming perceptions. Learn, explore, and enjoy through our robust lineup of free films, performances, talks, tours, family programs, scholarly programs, workshops, and celebrations.
Library and Archives
The Freer and Sackler Library, one of the finest Asian art research libraries in the United States, contains approximately eighty-six thousand volumes, including nearly two thousand rare books. The Freer and Sackler Archives collects, preserves, and makes available documentary materials that support the museums’ holdings and research.
The Freer and Sackler’s Department of Conservation and Scientific Research is the nation’s foremost center for the care and scientific study of Asian art. Our scientists and conservators strive to research materials, improve methods of preservation, and educate others in conservation practices.
Freer and Sackler publications share our collections, exhibitions, and research with audiences worldwide. Among them are award-winning catalogues, books, and the renowned academic journal Ars Orientalis.
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