Welcome to the National Museum of Asian Art
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, are located on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Committed to preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting exemplary works of art, the National Museum of Asian Art addresses broad questions about culture, identity, and the contemporary world. The museum cares for exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 45,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today and originating from the ancient Near East to China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world. Nearly a century old, the Freer Gallery of Art also holds a significant group of American works of art largely dating to the late nineteenth century. It houses the world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famed Peacock Room.
Why Asian and American Art?
In 1890, Charles Lang Freer paid an unannounced call to artist James McNeill Whistler’s London studio. The two men would establish a long and fruitful partnership. Freer ultimately collected more than one thousand artworks by Whistler—including the Peacock Room—as well as significant holdings of work by other late nineteenth-century American artists.
Fascinated by the arts and cultures of Asia, Whistler also turned Freer’s attention East. By 1906, Freer had added a considerable number of Asian artworks and objects to his American collections. He came to share Whistler’s belief that the history of art was a “story of the beautiful” that transcended time and place. And when Freer conceived of a museum for his collections, he envisioned it as a monument to the “points of contact” between ancient and modern, East and West. We uphold this vision today, allowing the universality of art to connect us all.
Vision and Values
View our strategic plan for FY2020–2025.
View our digital strategic plan.
Learn more about our centennial initiatives.
Board of Trustees
Meet the current and honorary members of the National Museum of Asian Art Board of Trustees, as of February 23, 2023.
Meet the world-class people behind our world-class museum.
National Museum of Asian Art public programs illuminate where Asia meets America, stimulating curiosity and transforming perceptions. Learn, explore, and enjoy through our robust lineup of free films, performances, talks, tours, family programs, scholarly programs, workshops, and celebrations.
Library and Archives
The Freer and Sackler Library, one of the finest Asian art research libraries in the United States, contains approximately eighty-six thousand volumes, including nearly two thousand rare books. The Freer and Sackler Archives collects, preserves, and makes available documentary materials that support the museum’s holdings and research.
The National Museum of Asian Art’s Department of Conservation and Scientific Research is the nation’s foremost center for the care and scientific study of Asian art. Our scientists and conservators strive to research materials, improve methods of preservation, and educate others in conservation practices.
National Museum of Asian Art publications share our collections, exhibitions, and research with audiences worldwide. Among them are award-winning catalogues, books, and the renowned academic journal Ars Orientalis.
Freer Gallery of Art
History and building
Charles Lang Freer