As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in February/March 2016, so this post may not be representative of this site today.
National Gallery of Art
This museum started when A.W. Mellon, a Pittsburg banker and Treasury Secretary from 1921-1932, gathered a private collection of old master paintings and sculptures during World War I, and decided in the late 1920s to work towards establishing a new national gallery for the country to enjoy.
In 1930, Mellon established the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, which would own these works of art, starting with a collection of paintings purchased from the Soviets and which had previously been part of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. In 1937, Mellon used the trust to gift the collection and funds to construct a building for it to the US government.
The building extant today stands on the former site of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, also the site of the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881, and which had been demolished in 1908.
The museum was designed by John Russell Pope, and accepted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt upon its completion in 1941. It was the largest marble structure in the world at the time. Sadly, neither Pope nor Mellon lived to see the building completed, as both passed in 1937.
Mellon’s children, Paul and Ailsa, continued to fund expansions for the museum, and its East Building was completed in 1978 by I.M. Pei. It was opened by President Jimmy Carter in that same year.
The collection comprises works from European and American artists, covering a time period from the Medieval era to the present, and includes the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas.