The National Portrait Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition and study of portraits of …history and culture and to the study of the artists who created such portraiture. ..
It resides in the National Historic Landmarked Old Patent Office Building … The third oldest federal building in the city, constructed between 1836 and 1867, the marble andgranite museum has porticoes modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
The building was used as a hospital during the American Civil War. ]
It was spared from demolition by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958, and given to the Smithsonian, which renovated the structure and opened the National Museum of American Art (later renamed the Smithsonian American Art Museum) and National Portrait Gallery there in 1968.
Hallmarks of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection include the famous “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington; the Hall of Presidents; and its extensive selection of portraits of remarkable Americans from all walks of life.
“I have been known to call the Portrait Gallery a ‘dinner party with history’. What I mean is that visiting here is like going to a place filled with the most extraordinary people one would ever hope to meet. They are women and men who come from everywhere in the country and the world , whose cultural origins and fields of achievements are as varied as the society in which we live and who have had the good fortune to be captured on canvas, on film, on paper or in marble or bronze by artists who have responded to their spirit, and given them the chance to be introduced to generations to come. Welcome to our world and yours.” Marc Pachter, Director National Portrait Gallery