Hidden Gems Museum Study Locations – The GW Hatchet

Media credit: Grace Hromin | Master Photo Editor

Spend an afternoon in Kogod’s inner courtyard, nestled between the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum.

Next time you’re looking for a place to study, try working in one of the world-class museums we have available to us instead of being stuck in a Gelman Library study room or cooped up in your residence.

Cafes and places to study on campus can get old quickly, and sometimes all you need to finish your piling up work is a change of scenery. Almost all Smithsonian museums have reopened so check out one of these places while you prepare for the midterms.

National Art Gallery
You don’t have to be an art history buff to enjoy the serene atmosphere of the National Gallery of Art. The sculpture garden that accompanies the museum, which hosts Jazz in the Garden during the warmer months, is a lively outdoor study spot to keep in mind for later this spring. But inside the museum head to the second floor from the west Building look for a place in one of the two Garden Courts. the the spaces high ceilings, marble details and lush greenery. Both courts have a sparse selection of chairs, but luckily the steps down into the courts form a ledge of seating around the perimeter of each space which does the trick. Or you can have a main character moment and secure yourself a spot on the ledge of one of the fountains that act as the centerpieces of each courtyard.

Between 3rd and 9th streets on Constitution Avenue NW. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free entry.

Freer Art Gallery
The inner courtyard of the Freer Gallery of Art is a hidden gem for those who need less noise to concentrate. The open-air square courtyard was designed as the focal point of the museum and at one time housed live peacocks. The thick stone walls and glass doors surrounding the courtyard attenuate any outside noise. Since the museum has a smaller collection than most Smithsonians and is slightly hidden behind the Smithsonian Castle, you won’t have to rely on sharing space with many other visitors. Choose from a scattering of chairs in covered around the perimeter of the yard and study for a few hours.

Between Jefferson Drive and 12th Street on Independence Avenue SW. Open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free admission.

National Portrait Gallery
For a productive yet leisurely study session, visit the National Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard. The massif, in the shape of an atrium space is visually striking with a multi-story glass and metal ceiling that gives a wavy illusion and lets in floods of natural light. There’s no shortage of tables or chairs, so bring your friends for a study session here, and you can enjoy a tour around the museum afterwards as a reward for your hard work. Bring a few dollars to fuel your studies with a coffee or snack from The Courtyard Coffeewhich remains open until 4 p.m.

Between 7th and 9th Streets on G Street NW. Open Thursday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free admission.

Hirschhorn Museum
Dotted with plush sofas and armchairs, the Hirshhorn Museum is a comfortable and cozy place to study. A window-filled space on the third floor of the Hirshhorn called the Lerner Room is a break in soil exposure. The panoramic window of the Lerner Hall is the only exterior view of the upper floors of the circular museum. There, you can enjoy views of the National Mall and nearby Smithsonian museums while working. But what you will be left with are the large, well-worn curved sofas that the museum offers. Sink into one of these couches and you could find yourself spending hours here.

Corner of Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW. Open Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free admission.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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