The Renwick Gallery was built by William Wilson Corcoran as an art gallery
for his private collection. The building was designed by James Renwick.
During the Civil War, Corcoran left Washington due to Conferderate
leanings. The gallery was seized by the U.S. Army for use as a
warehouse. After the Civil War, Corcoran returned and eventually
repossessed his gallery. His collection quickly outgrew the building and
Corcoran moved the gallery to a larger building on 17th Street where it
remains today. In 1965, the Secretary of the Smithsonian requested that
the building be turned over to the Smithsonian for use as a gallery of
art, crafts and design. Restoration of the building for the Smithsonian
began in 1967, and the building reopened as the Renwick Gallery in 1972.
Visit the museum's web site at