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Posted at 9:48 AM ET, 06/29/2006

Arts Revival Downtown

By Julia Beizer

It's a good weekend for the arts community in Chinatown. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery reopen this Saturday after a six-and-a-half-year renovation. But before it opens, you can look inside the museums' revamped home -- now dubbed the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture -- with our panoramic photographs and interactive map. Read on for details on the museum's opening festival (and where to find the free ice cream).

The museums celebrate with an all-day festival this Saturday. After an 11:30 a.m. ribbon cutting, visitors are free to roam the gallery halls and engage in art activities like mask-making and crafting thrones out of tinfoil (a nod to James Hampton's stunning work "Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly," in the American Art Museum's Folk Art section.) Basket-making and collage demonstrations go on throughout the day and music will flow through the halls of the museum. Free ice cream is available at the museum's G Street entrance and a free shuttle bus provides transportration between the Folklife Festival and the museums.

You can find everything you ever wanted to know about the new Reynolds Center here, including its new features: a visible storage center, a conservation studio that the public can peek into and loads of new gallery space. Don't forget to download our podcast tours before you go. The museums' directors offer insight into some of the works on view.

--Julia

By Julia Beizer  | June 29, 2006; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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