Washington’s major museums are justly renowned, but several other collections are worth consideration. Below are three personal favorites.
THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION — In 1921, steel heir Duncan Phillips opened this museum in his family’s 1897 Georgian Revival home. The original holding of 237 works has grown to encompass more than 3,000, and the museum has expanded to two additional buildings. Strolling among the intimate galleries, you will find works by Matisse, Monet, Klee, Braque and Degas, among others. Perhaps the most notable canvas is Renoir’s sumptuous “Luncheon of the Boating Party.” 1600 21st Street, N.W. Tel. (202) 387-2151.
DUMBARTON OAKS — This beautiful house and surrounding gardens in Georgetown were once home to Foreign Service officer Robert Woods Bliss and his heiress wife, Mildred. They shared a passion for the art of cultures that were then little-known, and carefully collected works from both the Byzantine and pre-Columbian eras. In 1940, they donated their home and Byzantine collection to Harvard University. In 1963, they also donated the pre-Columbian collection, for which Philip Johnson designed a special pavilion. In 1944, a series of meetings at Dumbarton Oaks among China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States led to the founding of the United Nations. 1703 32nd Street, N.W. Tel. (202) 339-6401.
NEWSEUM — This impressive museum opened in 2008, and through interactive displays, exhibitions and films, it explores the role of news and journalism throughout the history of the United States. On seven floors, you will find front pages from seminal moments in history, a map that delineates freedom of the press throughout the world, sobering portraits of slain journalists, a stunning gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, sections of the Berlin Wall and a gallery that explores news coverage of 9/11. I thought I might spend an hour here, but I lingered for three and could have stayed longer. 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Tel. (888) 639-7386.