National Museum of African Art

National Museum of African Art information

Washington, DC , USA
Address
Street 950 Independence Ave SW
Getting there
metro Smithsonian
More information
www.nmafa.si.edu
Opening hours
10am-5:30pm
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Lonely Planet review

Enter the museum’s ground-level pavilion through the Enid A Haupt Memorial Garden, then descend into the dim underground exhibit space. Devoted to ancient and modern sub-Saharan African art, the quiet galleries display masks, textiles, ceramics, ritual objects and other examples of the visual traditions of a continent of over 900 distinct cultures. Intentionally or not, there’s a definite West African focus here – this is the traditional art many people associate with Africa, including wooden masks, statues and fetish dolls, largely from Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon. That said, the museum is making admirable strides in showcasing more contemporary work from the continent. African dance troupes, theater companies and multimedia artists frequently stage shows here. An underground tunnel connects to the Sackler Gallery.