United States

10 Exhibitions to Discover in Washington DC this Fall

by Paul Joseph  |  Published September 20, 2022

Not only is Fall one of the most beautiful times of the year in Washington DC, it’s also a busy time for the city’s cultural scene with numerous exhibitions on show.

(Photo: Albert Ting / Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum)

The US capital is home to a huge number of internationally acclaimed museums and other cultural venues – together with some lesser-known ones, too. If you’re visiting Washington DC this coming Fall and would like to check out an exhibition during your stay, we’ve looked into all of those scheduled over the coming months and picked out 10 that might well take your fancy.

We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection

Artists without formal training, who learned from family, community, and personal journeys, have long been a presence in American art. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that the collective force of their creative vision and presence turned the tide in the mainstream art world. Through drawings, paintings, and sculptures that span the narrative to the abstract, the artworks in this exhibition convey the humanistic power of art and allow us to see the world through the lens of another.

Smithsonian American Art Museum / Through 26 March 2023

The Samaritans: A Biblical People

Samaritans making a pilgrimage up Mount Gerizim on Passover (Photo: Ori Orhof)

This exhibition offers unprecedented access to the life, culture, and history of the Samaritans. This people group is often linked to two New Testament stories: Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan and his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Beyond that, few know much about this micro-community of 850 people living in modern Israel who trace their history back to the kingdom of ancient Israel. This first-of-its-kind exhibit was created in partnership with the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies, directed by Dr. Steven Fine.

Museum of the Bible / Through 1 January 2023

Emotions at Play with Pixar’s Inside Out

(Photo: Courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh)

After so many children were unable to learn in person due to schools being forced to shut during the pandemic, social-emotional learning is needed more than ever. Inspired by the hugely popular animated movie Inside Out, this exhibition is designed to help children and families explore emotions and build communication skills together. Highlights include the chance to explore the range and intensity of emotions at the Control Panel, discover how we feel with our faces and bodies at the Emotions Mirrors, and show how we’re currently feeling by creating a glowing Memory Sphere.

National Children’s Museum / From 24 September 2022 – 8 January 2023

To Supply A Nation: Origins and Impacts of Everyday Things

It is a commonly held myth that early Americans were self-sufficient and produced everything they needed themselves. In reality, from the earliest days of colonial settlement, trade in goods from around the world supplied the wants and needs of early American consumers, augmented by items produced in workshops by local, skilled craftspeople. Through probate inventories – lists of assets made after a person dies – spanning the period 1750 to 1820, this exhibition opens a window into the homes of a diverse range of Americans, offering a deep examination into the origins and consumption of goods of the era, and in doing so revealing the impact it had on people and the environment.

DAR Museum / Through December 2022

Put It This Way: (Re)Visions of the Hirshhorn Collection

(Photo: Tex Andrews)

Intended to encourage conversations around the significance of gender in creating and perceiving an artwork, this exhibition unites almost a century of work by 49 female artists spanning a range of media forms. Titled after a 1963 painting by American pop artist Rosalyn Drexler, whose work is featured within it, the exhibition speaks to traditionally marginalised artists’ achievements, and investigates a wide array of aesthetic, political and historical concerns.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden / Through Fall 2023

Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces

For some, the Indigenous commitment to the U.S. military doesn’t make sense. Why would Indians serve a country that overran their homelands, suppressed their cultures, and confined them to reservations? But the reality is that native people have served for the same reasons as anyone else: to demonstrate patriotism or pursue employment, education, or adventure. This exhibition honours the generations of Native Americans who have served in the armed forces of the United States – often in extraordinary numbers – since the American Revolution.

National Museum of the American Indian / Through 30 November 2023

Operación Jaque

(Photo: International Spy Museum)

One of the most daring and effective operations in intelligence history, Operación Jaque was the name given to the successful rescue of 15 hostages held by the FARC – the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party – deep in the Colombian jungle. Entirely planned and executed by Colombian forces, the heroic mission is celebrated in this evocative exhibition through an assortment of artefacts. Highlights include chains used to shackle the hostages, a logbook of fake radio transmissions sent to deceive the hostage-takers, and the helmet worn by the pilot who helicoptered the hostages to safety.

International Spy Museum / Through 31 December 2022

Tudor Place Permanent Exhibition

(Photo: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden)

A historic house and garden spread over five-and-a-half acres in the heart of Georgetown, Tudor Place is not a museum in the traditional sense, but is instead a unique site with original furnishings and objects kept by the multiple generations of family members that owned the property from 1805 through to 1988 – the year the house opened to the public. When guests walk through the property, it’s not one period they experience, but the expression of numerous owners’ daily lives and interests over time. And with the home having seen many enslaved people live and work here, it also serves to examine their legacy and confront the complexities of the past. Be sure to spare time to explore the gardens, which are particularly pretty during Fall.

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden / Permanent

Jacob Lawrence and the Children of Hiroshima

(Photo: © 2022 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

n 1983, American painter Jacob Lawrence was selected to illustrate Hiroshima, a vivid account of six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city in August 1945. This exhibition reexamines the impact of the bombing by juxtaposing Lawrence’s illustrations with selected drawings by the children of Hiroshima’s Honkawa Elementary School. Created 35 years apart, the clear call and response in the two powerful bodies of work serve to convey the emotional impact of nuclear warfare and the potential for peace and reconciliation.

The Phillips Collection / Through 27 November 2022

Take the Case

(Photo: National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum)

Created to honour the role of law enforcement, in service to society, the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum plays host to a busy roster of exhibitions throughout the year. Among those running through this Fall is this hands-on exhibit that allows visitors to simultaneously play the roles of forensic scientist and detective as they collect evidence, examine clues, and learn about what it takes to build a case using modern investigation techniques. For the remainder of 2022, all retired and active law enforcement can gain free admission on Saturdays to this exhibition and the rest of the museum.

National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum / Ongoing

Baseball: America’s Home Run

(Photo: Loan from The Stephen Wong Collection)

From fan letters and post office baseball teams to the worlds of stamp and baseball memorabilia collecting, this exhibition explores one of America’s most popular national pastimes and the surprising ways that baseball and postal history have been deeply intertwined since the early twentieth century. Created to mark the recent 150th Anniversary of Professional Baseball the exhibition features a treasure trove of artefacts including game-worn uniforms, jackets, hats, game-used bats, and other historically significant items.

National Postal Museum / Through 5 January 2025