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Old Patent Office Building

Old Patent Office Old Patent Office Photo: Josh via Flickr

If you are visiting Washington DC, then don’t forget to add Old Patent Office Building in your list of the city’s main attractions. The building has served as one of the first US Patent Office Buildings and occupies a whole city block in Washington roughly between the Capitol and the White House.

The building is stunningly adorned from freestone and sandstone from Virginia and granite and marble from Maryland, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. Inside the building, there is a magnificent double curve staircase and many other ornamental touches. The building displays patent models for the public as well as art, scientific and historical collections. Adding to it, in 2007 a gorgeous central courtyard has been opened.

The Office building echoes Greek revival architecture styled by Robert Mills and is of national historic significance. It took 31 long years for this beautiful massive building to be complete. Representing neo-classical style in its design, Old Patent Office Building is a frequently visited tourist spot in Washington DC. Although, East wing is the only element of the building that still exists in its original form. Nonetheless, the building was declared in 1965 as a National Historic Landmark. During this time, a huge restoration project was in progress and when it was complete in 1968, the two Smithsonian museums began to showcase their collections here.

As a matter of fact, the Old Patent building is now a component of the Smithsonian Institution and houses two museums; the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. These two Smithsonian buildings reopened in 2006 and are collectively known as the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. The National Portrait Gallery portrays individuals who helped in the establishment of American culture through new media, visual and performing arts. On the other hand, The Art Museum displays the largest assortment of American art in the whole world. At the same time the exhibits also tell the legend of America through visual arts.

That explains it all. Not only the local people but also the tourists from all round the world swarm the place throughout the year. It is counted among the most attractive places in Washington and one must not miss a chance to visit here.


Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily
Address/Map:  8th and F NW Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 633-1000
Website: Plan your visit to The Old Patent Office