Lonely Planet Writer

Why Michelle Obama’s official portrait had to be moved to a new space

The incredible new portrait of Michelle Obama that went on display at the Smithsonian last month has already been moved to a new part of the museum.

According to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, the painting has proved so popular that the public needs more space in which to view it. Portraits of the former president, Barack Obama, and former first lady, Michelle Obama, were unveiled at the gallery last month. The unveiling made headlines thanks to the paintings’ remarkable styles and the fact that they are the first works in the presidential portrait collection to be painted by African American artists.

Last week, the portrait gallery tweeted: “Due to the high volume of visitors, we’ve relocated Michelle Obama’s portrait to the third floor in our 20th-Century Americans galleries for a more spacious viewing experience”. The portrait was painted by the artist Amy Sherald, showing the former first lady in a beautiful patterned dress. The painting once again sparked interest after a photo of a two-year-old girl staring at the portrait in awe went viral. The young girl, named Parker Curry, was even invited to meet Michelle Obama in person at her office in Washington.

Obama posted a video of it on her Twitter profile, thanking Curry for stopping by and adding “Keep on dreaming big for yourself…and maybe one day I’ll proudly look up at a portrait of you!”

While there has been an uptick in those who want to see one particular portrait, the whole collection of Smithsonian museums in Washington contain thousands of works of art and artefacts around Washington DC. If you want to see the portraits of the Obamas, entry to the National Portrait Gallery is free and open from 11:30 am to 7 pm daily.