Check out these fun facts in honor of NMWA’s 30th anniversary!
The National Museum of Women in the Arts opened its doors to the public on April 7, 1987. Join us as we celebrate our 30th year with special exhibitions and programs, and learn more about the museum with these fun facts!
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to exhibiting the work of women artists.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts was established in 1987, one year after H. W. Janson’s History of Art—a popular art history textbook since 1962—mentioned women artists for the very first time.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located in a 1908 Renaissance Revival-style building that was constructed as a lodge for Masons, an organization that ironically does not allow women members.
In 2016, the Prado Museum in Madrid presented The Art of Clara Peeters, the museum’s first solo exhibition of work by a woman artist, and the very artist that inspired the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ founder Wilhelmina Cole Holladay to begin collecting art by women artists in the 1970s.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only place in Washington, D.C., where you can find a Frida Kahlo painting.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts organized Carrie Mae Weems’s first solo exhibition in 1993.
In 2015, the National Museum of Women in the Arts launched the Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative, a first-of-its-kind platform convening standout speakers to advance ideas for addressing society’s pressing issues.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts has presented nearly 300 special exhibitions, showcasing the creative contributions of women artists from around the world.
In 2017, the National Museum of Women in the Arts received the largest single gift in the museum’s history. The $9 million bequest from the Estate of Madeleine Rast bolsters the museum’s endowment and strengthens the mission to champion the achievements of women artists.
During the Women’s March weekend in January 2017, the National Museum of Women in the Arts welcomed record crowds.
Though NMWA is turning 30, there’s still more work to be done to right the balance for women artists. Check out some of these shocking statistics about women in the arts and take action.
DID YOU KNOW?
- 51% of visual artists today are women, but art by women artists makes up only 3–5% of major museum permanent collections
- On average, women artists earn 81¢ for every dollar made by male artists
- H. W. Janson’s History of Art now features 27 women artists—out of 318 artists total, or 8%