Our nation’s capital boasts spectacular art museums, and many of them are free. But don’t let an admission charge discourage you from visiting these three gems. All are housed in what were the private residences of their benefactors, designed by world-renowned architects. The residences and grounds showcase their art and sculpture collections.
The Kreeger Museum
2401 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington D.C. 20007
This private, non-profit art museum is the former residence of David Kreeger, an art collector, philanthropist, and a former chairman of Geico, and his wife Carmen. The museum houses Kreeger’s collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, including Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Chagall, Miro, and Stella, as well as other prominent works. The museum includes sculpture-filled gardens.
Museum: Tuesday through Thursday: open only for tours at 10:30 and 1:30, reservations required.
Museum: Friday and Saturday: open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, no reservations required.
Sculpture Garden: Tuesday – Saturday: open 10 am to 4pm.
Members of the military (with ID): $7
Students (with ID): $7
Seniors (65+): $7
Children (12 & under): Free
The Philips Collection
1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20009
This private art museum was founded by Duncan Phillips and his mother, whose father was a banker and co-founder of Jones and Laughlin steelworks. The museum combines the original family home, an 1897 Georgian Revival house in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. with extensive new galleries. The collection includes impressionist and modern works by Renoir, Rothko, Bonnard, O'Keeffe, van Gogh, and Diebenkorn.
Besides its permanent collection, the museum holds special exhibits, including an upcoming retrospective of “William Merritt Chase - A Modern Master,” from June 4 through September 11, 2016. It hosts special events year-round including concerts, lectures, and “Phillips after 5” on the first Thursday of the month, an opportunity to mix art, food, and music. There is a gift shop and café.
Tuesday through Saturday: open 10 am to 5 pm.
Sunday: open noon to 7 pm.
Thursday: extended hours 5 to 8:30 pm.
Admission Fees Museum Collection Only:
Tuesday through Friday: By donation
Saturday and Sunday: When no ticketed exhibition is on view
Students and visitors 62 and over: $8
Members and visitors 18 and under: free
Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens
4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
This estate, museum, and gardens comprise the former residence of Marjorie Merriweather Post, a businesswoman, socialite, philanthropist, and collector. She was the only child of Charles William (C.W.) Post who founded the Post cereal empire. She inherited the $20 million cereal company at the age of 27.
The former Merriweather Post residence now houses the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and includes twenty-five acres of lushly landscaped gardens.
Hillwood hosts special events year-round and has a gift shop, full-service dining café, and a Sunday Afternoon Tea. Reservations are recommended.
Book your visit ahead of time.
Tuesday through Sunday: 10am to 5pm.
Closed on Mondays, most national holidays, and several weeks at the end of January.
College Students: $10
Child (6-18): $5
Children under 6: free
Hillwood members: free
Active Military and their families are free from Memorial Day through Labor Day, as Hillwood is a Blue Star Museum participant.