01. Global Prehistory, 04. Later Europe & Americas, 10. Global Contemporary, Art & Humanities, United States, Washington, D.C.

AP Art History Hunting in Washington, D.C.

AP Art History Hunting in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., to my surprise, has quite a few pieces from the 250…or pieces very similar I “count” them. However, I would be remiss by saying you should ONLY go to museums with pieces from the 250. There are many amazing & FREE Smithsonian Museums that I highly recommend.

Content Area 1: Global Prehistory


Jade cong

Ok so you can argue I didn’t see “the official” jade cong from the 250 but I am less picky when it comes to prehistoric art. Here is a collection of jade congs from the Freer-Sackler Galleries (in the National Museum of Asian Art). This museum was such an unexpected delight, I am definitely warming up to Asian art now that I teach AP World History.

  • Location: National Museum of Asian Art
  • Cost: FREE
  • Opening Times: daily 10:00am-5:30pm

Content Area 4: Later Europe and the Americas


Woman Holding a Balance, Johannes Vermeer

This painting was part of the show Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry at the National Gallery of Art and really THE reason I was in D.C. The whole show was fantastic (Vermeer is my favorite artist) but it was especially rewarding to see Woman Holding a Balance because it was not on display when I was in D.C. this past summer.

Migration Series, Jacob Lawrence

Panel no. 49 was not on display the day we went but a few other notable pieces were there. The Phillips Collection owns the whole series and it seems that they rotate out the various panels randomly. It  was very powerful to see them in person especially in a room full of other African-American art, like Kara Walker. The juxtaposition created a nice dialogue of African-American struggles throughout the past century.

  • Location: Phillips Collection
  • Cost: $20
  • Opening Times: Tues-Sun 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Mon closed


George Washington, Jean-Antoine Houdon (Bronze version)

The original from the 250 is actually in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (which I accidentally missed while on a family trip…); however we stumbled upon a bronze copy of the exact statue while roaming around Embassy Row near Dupont Circle. It took us a couple of seconds going “No, that can’t be it?” “Wait, that’s it.” “Let’s cross the street to get a better look.” And then ending in giddy laughter. And even more serendipitous, the statue was outside the Society of the Cincinnati, which was founded in 1783 by 6,000 officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts. I learned all about this society from a random man on the sidewalk that was a hereditary member and attending a party that evening inside!

Content Area 8: South, East, and Southeast Asia

(Artist) Bichitr

Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaikh to Kings, Bitchr

This is the same museum that has the Jade congs I saw, however this folio was not on display when I went (a common occurrence with paper artworks). There were other Mughal folios on display that day when still show the gorgeous and intricate manuscript painting on the piece from the 250.

  • Location: National Museum of Asian Art
  • Cost: FREE
  • Opening Times: daily 10:00am-5:30pm

Content Area 10: Global Contemporary


 Vietnam Memorial, Maya Lin

This piece is kinda hard to miss, especially if you are doing the National Mall “monuments” round. It was especially touching while we were there because there were families placing flags for their dearly departed and there were some information papers left around with short biographies of the fallen left by loved ones. I read one of the papers that talked about the high school this soldier went to, the names of his parents, and wife. It makes these names come to life when you can learn about their background.

  • Location: National Mall
  • Cost: FREE
  • Opening Times: always open because it’s outside

Electronic Superhighway, Nam June Paik

I accidentally went to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, it’s not there; instead it’s at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The piece is overwhelming in person, both visually and auditory. Silly me I never though about the chaotic sound one would experience in front it it. The piece also includes Alaska and Hawaii off to the side (sadly those pieces are not included in image in the 250).


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