Private Tour of the National Portrait Gallery & Smithsonian Art Museum

Private Tour of the National Portrait Gallery & Smithsonian Art Museum

From (USD)
$ 360

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Private Guide (6 Guest Max)

    For Groups, please contact our GoTo Crew.

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      Washington DC, USA
      3 Hours
      From (USD)
      $ 360
      • National Portrait Gallery: Get the big picture and fascinating details about great figures from American history, including the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House.
      • Smithsonian American Art Museum: Right next door, SAAM is the oldest federal collection of art in Washington, with major works by signature artists from the 18th through 20th centuries.
      • More than a guide: Even by GoBe standards, your tour leader is special. Known officially as "docents" (from the Latin for teacher), these Ph.D. and M.A.-level art historians promote discussion and participation, adding depth and insight.
      • Your group, your tour: This private experience lets you set the departure time and the pace that works for your group's interests. The tour usually runs about three hours, but even that's flexible.

      Meeting point

      Please meet just inside the G Street entrance of the National Portrait Gallery, to the left of the information desk. The G Street entrance is located halfway between 7th & 9th St (where 8th St dead ends into the Museum).

      Helpful hints

      As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind.

      Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather.

      If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide.

      Museums and monuments can sometimes close without notice due to labor strikes, structural problems, or other civic disturbances.

      The docent who leads a given walk may become unavailable at the last minute due to illness or other unforeseen circumstance. In these cases we will seek to re-organize the walk to accommodate the change; however, our responsibility in these cases is limited and we cannot be held liable for circumstances beyond our control. Price of the tour does not include entrance fees, meals or necessary transportations. These will be paid on the spot by the participants.

      Getting around

      Plan to walk for approximately 2 miles at a gentle pace. This itinerary can be modified for your private group to accommodate wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Let us know ahead of time at

      Activity type

      Walking Tour, Cultural, Private Tour

      Transportation used

      Public transportation may be used from time to time. Have local currency available for tickets. Your tour may involve walking only.

      Included amenities

      Ph.D. or MA-level scholar guide

      Tour ID


      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Suitable for all ages. Traveling with children 12 years of age and younger? Tell us their ages and interests during the booking process so we can match you with the best guide.

      Special Medical Restriction

      If you use a folding wheelchair, we'll do our best to accommodate you with at least 7 days of advanced notice, providing you have someone along to assist you. Email us at Accessibility at all venues cannot be guaranteed.

      Special comments

      Price of the tour does not include entrance fees, meals or necessary transportations. These will be paid on the spot by the participants.

      This tour of the Smithsonian's two quintessential art museums takes place in a structure that is a work of art in itself: a majestic Greek Revival structure built between 1836 and 1868 that Walt Whitman called "that noblest of Washington buildings." Like the works inside, it's a piece of living history. It's been home to the Patent Office and various bureaus of the Department of the Interior, was used as a military hospital and barracks during the Civil War, and even hosted Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural ball in 1865. Saved from demolition by Congress in the 1950s, the building opened to the public as the Smithsonian Institution's American art wings in 1968. 

      We begin at the National Portrait Gallery, discussing the facts and myths, the images and the reality, behind some of the most iconic personalities in American history. You'll learn the significance of the rainbow in in Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait of George Washington, and why portraitist Joseph Siffred Duplessis painted Benjamin Franklin in a plain grey coat. Believe it or not, such small details tells tell big stories, and helped shape the way generations of Americans perceived a shared national heritage. 

      We then turn to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the oldest federal collection of art in Washington. SAAM's galleries brim with historically significant paintings by masters like Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, Edmonia Lewis, John Singer Sargent, and the Hudson River School, as well as sculptures and other art object by Andrew Wyeth, Jenny Holzer, Nam June Paik, and others.

      Led by an art historian, this experience is, indeed, equal parts art and history – a visual biography of the American identity.

      Choose your date and time very carefully. Only a portion of this tour is refundable from the time of booking; within 72 hours of operation, it is fully non-refundable.


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      Washington DC, USA
      Great photo opportunities
      Bring money
      Bring water
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear Hat
      Wear Sunglasses
      Wear light clothing

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      General disclaimer

      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

      To book this tour for a large group, visit ourGROUPS PAGE for special discounted group rates