Doug Aitken, 'SONG 1,' 2012
Frequently Asked Questions
What are your hours of operation?
Open daily (except December 25)
Museum: 10 am to 5:30 pm Plaza: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
Sculpture Garden: 7:30 am to dusk
Admission: Free; donations are accepted.
What kind of tours do you offer?
We offer several tour options:

At the Hirshhorn we believe that modern and contemporary art demands a more active viewer. We never stop creating new informal programs to fit a wide range of audience needs and interests.

We encourage private and school groups to register for a self-guided tour in advance if you are planning to visit the museum. To schedule your visit, please contact our Education Department at

10:30 am to 3:00PM: Group tours scheduled in advance focus on the Hirshhorn Collection, Special Exhibitions or they can be customized to meet your group’s unique interests. To schedule a tour, please contact our Education Department at
How can I buy an exhibition catalogue or gifts in the Museum Shop?
The Museum Shop has a large selection of books, exhibition catalogues, postcards, and posters on modern and contemporary art. The shop also carries CDs, tapes, artist-crafted jewelry, design items, and toys. All merchandise is also available by mail order. Please contact the shop to discuss any merchandise available in the shop. Smithsonian Associates enjoy a 10% discount on Museum Shop items. Payments may be made with major credit cards or by check.

Hours: Open daily, 10 am to 5:30 pm, except December 25
Phone: 202-357-1429
Fax: 202-357-3151
What happens if I lose something in the museum?
Any items found in the Museum are turned into the Museum’s security office and then brought over to the central Lost and Found, located at Capital Gallery at the end of the day. The items are all logged in and sorted by museum. They are kept for 30 days. After that, they are donated to charity.

Location: Capital Gallery, 600 Maryland Ave SW, 4th Floor

Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday
7:30 am to 12:00 pm; 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Telephone: 202-633-5630
Facsimile: 202-633-5658
Can I sketch in the Hirshhorn's galleries?
Yes, but only with pencil. You may not use pens or set up an easel.
How do I arrange to see a work of art in your collection not on view?
Qualified scholars may request to see works not currently on view by appointment, depending on staff availability. Appointments with the Registrar should be made by email at least one month in advance. A formal letter of interest should be emailed to
How do I arrange to see a work of art in your collection not on view?
Past exhibitions arranged by date and title can be found by visiting the Hirshhorn main website's online exhibition archives. The Hirshhorn’s Library also has many resources that can be used for researching past exhibitions. Member of the public can visit the Library by appointment. Arrangements can be made by emailing or (202) 633-2836.
Can anyone use the Hirshhorn Library?
Yes. Anyone is welcome to utilize the Hirshhorn’s library by appointment. Arrangements can be made by emailing or (202) 633-2836.
Where can I get information about a specific work in your collection?
Nearly all of our almost 11,500 works are available on the Hirshhorn main website's collection search. The information is maintained and updated by the Hirshhorn staff and new records are frequently added. You may also make an appointment to visit the Hirshhorn’s library to research specific artists and art movements.
How can I find out if a particular work of art is currently on view at the Hirshhorn?
To determine whether or not a particular work of art is currently on view at the Hirshhorn, please visit Collection Works on View. Collection information on the site is updated on a regular basis.
How many objects are in the collection?
The Hirshhorn Museum holds about 11,500 artworks including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, film and videos and installation based works. In addition to Joseph H. Hirshhorn’s gifts and bequests, these holdings comprise collections acquired since 1974, and additional gifts and bequests of generous benefactors. The Hirshhorn continues to collect and strengthen its holdings of certain artists and mediums. Recently, the Hirshhorn began a new group called the Collections Acquisitions Council, a group committed to researching and acquiring contemporary works of art, sometimes by emerging artists.
How do I request to borrow a work of art from the Museum's collection?
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden maintains an active lending program with accredited national museums, international museums, and galleries for the purpose of public exhibition. Please limit your request to six objects. If you would like to borrow a work of art from the Hirshhorn collection, please send a formal request letter and an updated facility report for your institution at least 6 months prior to the opening of your exhibition. For questions, please contact
Can I submit my work of art to the Curatorial department?
Due to the museum’s limited staff resources and the enormous volume of artists’ submissions received, we are unable to respond individually or to return materials. Please note that we generally do not develop exhibitions nor acquire works based on unsolicited submissions.

Should you decide to submit work for consideration as a possible acquisition or donation, we request that you do so by mail only as we cannot review email submissions or accept materials delivered in person to the Museum. If sending materials, please provide the following:

1. A letter of intent.

2.Please do not send original artwork. Please send approx. 8”x10” color printouts of the works or a single CD with 300 DPI jpg images. Video work should be submitted on a single DVD as a high resolution Quicktime file.

3. Biography, CV, artist’s statement, and press materials that will help the curators understand the body of work are helpful.

4. All materials should be neatly placed in a folder or bound and sent in a clearly labeled envelope.

It is essential to use the address below for unsolicited submissions:

Smithsonian Institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden /Curatorial dept. MRC 353
c/o: Curatorial Assistant – Submissions
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

We regret that we are unable to respond to phone calls related to unsolicited submissions.
How can I find the value of an art work?
As a Federal organization, the Hirshhorn’s staff may not authenticate or make monetary appraisals or estimates on any works of art for any purpose. Reputable sources for this type of assistance include major auction houses such as Christie’s International and Sotheby’s, as well as the Art Dealers Association and the Appraisers Association of America.
Can the Hirshhorn restore my work of art?
No, but the Hirshhorn Conservation Lab may assist scholars with general questions about the physical condition or preservation of artworks. Our conservators’ primary responsibility is the physical well-being of works of art that are permanently or temporarily in the museum’s care. Scholars may contact the Conservation Lab at with specific questions.
Did Joseph Hirshhorn pay for the museum?
No, the Hirshhorn Museum is primarily federally funded, as it is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899-1981) gave his extensive art collection to the nation in 1966 and later contributed $1 million to the Smithsonian Institution toward the construction of the Hirshhorn building designed by Gordon Bunshaft.
Does the museum allow videotaping or photography?
The Hirshhorn does not allow videotaping inside the museum. Photography without the use of a flash is allowed only in the Hirshhorn’s collection galleries and not within special exhibitions, unless otherwise noted. Flash photography is prohibited at all times. Tripods are not permitted inside the Museum or Sculpture Garden.
If I am a member of the media/press can I obtain special permission to film or photograph at the Hirshhorn?
Yes. Media may request access to photograph or film special exhibitions, collection galleries, and the Sculpture Garden or building. Most film and photo shoots require supervision from a registrar and may also sometimes require permission from the director of communications, director of collections management, chief curator, and head registrar. All press inquiries should be directed to Chris Wailoo at Please visit our press room on the Hirshhorn's main website for further information and updated press releases.
If I am a member of the public, can I obtain images for non-press related purposes?
The public can request images for non-press related purposes by contacting Amy Giarmo in the photography department at Processing, reproduction, and image rights fees may be required.
How can I obtain rights to reproduce an image in the collection for non-press related purposes like a catalogue?
Rights and reproductions of Hirshhorn images can be obtained by submitting a request in writing to Amy Giarmo in the photography department at Processing, reproduction, and image rights fees may be required.
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