Urgent Museum Notice

Project Timeline

Blueprint rendering of the museum building exterior on the H Street side.

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Designed by the architecture firm, Wood, Donn & Deming, the Classical Revival-style building was constructed originally as a temple for the Masons—an organization that did not allow women members.

Construction of the National Museum of Women in the Arts building (formerly Masonic Temple), 1908; Courtesy of the Columbia Historical Society

Black and white photograph of the building construction from early 20th century.


NMWA purchased the historic 78,810 square-foot building located in downtown Washington, D.C., and began extensive renovations to open to the public on April 7, 1987.

Old color, front-facing photograph of the museum exterior from 1984.

November–December 2015

The museum hired renowned architectural firm Sandra Vicchio & Associates to conduct a preservation study of the building. Vicchio and her team presented an initial Facilities Preservation Plan to NMWA’s Board.

Photo credit: Kevin Allen

A woman with light skin and dark hair is speaking into a microphone in front of a wall with multiple photographs in bright yellow frames.

January 2016

A record-breaking blizzard damaged the main building’s roof. Within days, Sandra Vicchio and a team of engineers and contractors secured the structure and began planning the restoration of the roof and cornice.

Detail of museum exterior roof.

October 2017

A revised facilities preservation plan was presented to the Board.

February 2018

The Board passed a motion to proceed with (1) a predesign phase to answer critical questions about the project; and (2) a feasibility study for a possible capital campaign.

National Museum of Women in the Arts renovation project: Learning Commons; Rendering by Sandra Vicchio & Associates, LLC, with Marshall Craft Associates, Inc.

Rendering from above of the Library and Education Center.

March–May 2019

The Board formed a Capital Campaign Steering Committee, and leadership gift fundraising began.

Photo Credit: Kevin Allen. Pictured left to right: Susan Fisher Sterling, Sandra Vicchio, Winton Holladay, Jacqueline Badger Mars.

Four women with light skin wearing dark formal dresses pose for a photograph.

April 2021

The Board approved a $66 million project goal. The campaign passed the $50 million mark, achieving 75% of the goal.

August 9, 2021

The museum’s building will close to the public. NMWA staff will move operations out of the building while off-site and online programming continue.

Photograph of the back of two blond children watching an online program on a laptop.

September 1, 2021

Construction begins.

Fall 2023

The newly renovated building reopens to the public with a series of celebratory events for members, campaign donors, and the community.

Overview of the Great Hall shot from the Mezzanine balcony looking down at a festive party with tables and guests.

Additional Information

Project Overview

View of the museum from outside showing the Neoclassical building from one corner. The building is a tan-colored stone with an arched doorway, long vertical windows, and detailed molding around the roof.
Explore the ambitious campaign for a top-to-bottom transformation of the museum’s historic building.

Building Renovation

Architectural rendering of the gallery. People of all ages look at artwork hung on white and magenta walls.
Learn about the plan to improve interior spaces, mechanical systems, and exterior envelope to position NMWA for a triumphant future.

Capital Campaign

Three abstract outdoor sculptures of voluptuous figures covered in bright patterns and dancing with outstretched arms.
Now is the time to invest in NMWA and women artists. Help the museum reach new heights by supporting our historic $66 million campaign.

Director’s Message

A woman with light skin and short brown hair posing behind a white assemblage sculpture.
Read a special letter from Susan Fisher Sterling, NMWA’s Alice West Director, on the building’s first full renovation project since 1987.

Project FAQs

Rendering from above of the Library and Education Center.
Check out Frequently Asked Questions about the building closure, renovation, and campaign.

News and Media

Rendering shaped like an upside-down letter T shows the museum great hall and stairwell.
Stay up-to-date with announcements, news, and press on NMWA’s building renovation project and campaign progress.

Contact Us

We invite you to join in support of this transformational campaign. Gifts and pledges of all levels are welcome.

Kandra Bolden

Development Associate, Capital Campaign and Events


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