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About Us

Welcome to the Freer and Sackler

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, DC. Committed to preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting exemplary works of art, the Freer and Sackler house exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 42,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today. Renowned and iconic objects originate from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, the ancient Near East, and the Islamic world. The Freer Gallery also holds a significant group of American works of art largely dating to the late nineteenth century. It boasts the world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famed Peacock Room.

We invite you to travel from America to Asia with our exquisite artworks, foundational research, and dynamic programs. Through both quiet contemplation and joyous celebration, experience the Freer and Sackler’s unique ability to generate empathy across cultures.

Our History

The Freer Gallery of Art opened to the public in 1923, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery 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.