Editors' pick

National Museum of African Art - Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of African Art - Smithsonian Institution photo
(Crest mask, Ejagham peoples/National Museum of African Art)
Through 9/24

Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria

This exhibition features Alonge's photos documenting the rituals, pageantry and regalia of the royal court.
Through 11/1

The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists

Themes from Dante Alighieri's 14th-century poem are the inspiration for works by 40 African artists.
Through 11/2

The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists

Forty artists' works inspired by Dante Alighieri's 14th-century poem are displayed.
Through 1/24/16

Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue

In celebration of the museum's 50th anniversary, an exhibition exploring its history.

Editorial Review

The Buzz: Conserving centuries of art from a massive, diverse continent is no easy task, but this Smithsonian museum does an excellent job of representing the breadth of African cultures.

The Collections: The collection includes both ceremonial and utilitarian objects from cultures across the continent. Ceramics, tiles, furniture and tools can be found along with masks, paintings and sculpture.

In 2005, the museum accepted the donation of the Walt Disney-Tishman Collection of African Art, a highly regarded group of more than 500 objects.

Programs: The museum offers frequent weekday tours of its exhibitions. Film screenings and dance performances also make appearances on the museum's calendar -- particularly during the summer months. On some Saturday mornings, the museum hosts "Let's Read About Africa," a kid-friendly storytelling session.

Extras: The museum has a gift shop with inexpensive books, purses, jewelry, videos and CDs. It also has expensive sculptures, ceramics and musical instruments, so keep an eye on kids.

(Updated July 10, 2007)