National Portrait Gallery reopens Friday with 2 new exhibits

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews new exhibits at the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery officially reopens at 11:30 a.m. Friday after months of a pandemic shutdown.

It’s just one of four Smithsonian museums reopening this week, though visitors must book phased re-entry passes online or by calling 1-800-514-3849. Masks are required, while cafes and gift shops will remain closed.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our friends walk in the door on Friday,” director Kim Sajet told WTOP.

The National Portrait Gallery is located just above the Gallery Place Metro station.

Starting Friday, you can check out two new exhibits: “Visionary: The Cumming Family Collection” and “Her Story: A Century of Women Writers.” The former is a series of hyperrealistic paintings by Robert McCurdy.

“He takes 18 months to paint one of these pictures,” Sajet said. “People really think … the person is standing next to them, only they’re a little bit larger-than-life size. … It’s an incredible array of portraits of people.”

See images from the exhibit below.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2008.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Jane Goodall was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2020.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Muhammad Ali was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2017.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Neil Armstrong was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2012.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Nelson Mandela was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2009.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Toni Morrison was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2006.

This oil-on-canvas portrait of Warren Buffett was painted by Robert McCurdy in 2013.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

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