Project Timeline

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

Timeline Events

1908

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.

Black and white photograph showing the construction of the museum's building from early 20th century. The bottom floors are partially bricked while the upper floors only have scaffolding.
Construction of the National Museum of Women in the Arts building (formerly Masonic Temple), 1908; Courtesy of the Columbia Historical Society

1983

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 to 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.

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.
Photo credit: Kevin Allen

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.

Close-up of museum's exterior roof showing damage to the gutters caused by heavy snow that is also present in the photograph.

October 2017

A revised facilities preservation plan was presented to NMWA’s 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.

Birds-eye rendering of what the fourth floor will look like, includes a view of the new Library learning commons, the Education Center, and new gallery space..
National Museum of Women in the Arts renovation project: Learning Commons; Rendering by Sandra Vicchio & Associates, LLC, with Marshall Craft Associates, Inc.

March to May 2019

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

Four women with light skin wearing dark formal dresses pose for a photograph.
Photo Credit: Kevin Allen. Pictured left to right: Susan Fisher Sterling, Sandra Vicchio, Winton Holladay, Jacqueline Badger Mars.

August 9, 2021

Our building closed to the public, and we moved our collections and staff off-site.

Photograph of the back of two blond children watching an online program on a laptop. The program is titled 'Art Chat: Rock-Paper-Scissors' and is hosted by the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

September 2021

Construction preparation began as the team protected special finishes, such as the marble and historic details in the Great Hall, while removing carpet, walls, ceilings, and other materials to work on the building’s infrastructure.

October to December 2021

Focus shifted to site security and exterior scaffolding work, giving access to the building’s historic cornice for inspection and restoration.

Individual with light skin wearing a white hard had and florescent green vest inpsects the decorative cornice of the building.
Photo Credit: Sandra Vicchio & Associates

January to March 2022

The campaign surpasses $55 million in campaign contributions, and fixtures are removed in the Performance Hall to begin a full restoration of the space.

Interior view of the gutted performance hall.
Photo credit: NMWA

March 15, 2022

MISS CHELOVE’s four-story mural was installed on the museum’s exterior. This is the first of the Lookout public art installation series during the building’s renovation.

Exterior view of the museum with scoffolding all around that features a large, colorful mural on the front depicting a dark-skinned woman gazing into the distance with her arm touching her face. The background features flowers and green leaves.
MISS CHELOVE, Reseeded: A Forest Floor Flow (installation view), 2022; Printed mesh, 60 x 48 ft.; Commissioned by the National Museum of Women in the Arts with support provided by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; © 2022 MISS CHELOVE; Photo by Kevin Allen

Fall 2023

The newly renovated building will reopen 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 $67.5 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

Birds-eye rendering of what the fourth floor will look like, includes a view of the new Library learning commons, the Education Center, and new gallery space..
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.