Visitors look at Nam June Paik’s Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii during the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6901.

Remembering the Reopening of Two Smithsonian Museums

After extensive renovations of the Old Patent Office Building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture held a grand opening July 1, 2006.

After undergoing a six-year renovation, the Old Patent Office Building reopened on July 1, 2006, as The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. The Center is home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery of the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.

Some of the additions to the museums included a large auditorium, new windows with special light filters to protect the art, and 20 percent more gallery space. Additionally, the Smithsonain American Art Museum installed open storage galleries with rows of glass cases and drawers with works from the Museum's collections. 

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Musicians perform outside the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture on July 1, 2006, during the grand opening by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6656.

The public and photographers wait outside the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture on July 1, 2006, for the grand opening by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6662.

Marc Pachter, center, National Portrait Gallery director, addresses the crowd at the grand opening of Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture on July 1, 2006. Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small, left, and Elizabeth Broun, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery director, cheer by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6668.

Marc Pachter, center, National Portrait Gallery director, Elizabeth Broun, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery director, left, Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small, right, cut the ribbon on July 1, 2006, at the grand opening of Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6711.j

Gallery attendees view a portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton at the National Portrait Gallery on July 1, 2006, during the grand opening of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6774.

A family receives information from a greeter at the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no.MG_6794.

A gallery visitor views The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly during the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6796.

Marilyn Monroe, left, Charlie Chaplin, and Andy Warhol impersonators pose during the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6815.

A dance troupe performs during the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6873.

Visitors look at Nam June Paik’s Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii during the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_6901.

Actors dressed as George and Martha Washington stand in front of the Landsdowne George Washington portrait during the grand opening on July 1, 2006, of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture by Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 18-238, Image no. MG_7019.

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