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Arthur M. Sackler


Dr. Arthur M. Sackler was a physician and medical publisher who established the museum's inaugural collection with a gift of one thousand objects primarily of Chinese and ancient Near Eastern art. His renowned collection of Chinese jades and bronzes, as well as paintings and lacquer ware are without peer.

"One wonderful day in 1950 I came upon some Chinese ceramics and Ming furniture. My life has not been the same since."

Born and educated in New York, Dr. Sackler devoted his professional career to the advancement of medicine. His other passion was in collecting exemplary objects from Asia, which evolved into the collection that forms the foundation of the museum's holdings.

"Great art, great science, and the true humanities are great because they all 'speak' the truth," Dr. Sackler once commented. "No great art, or science, no music or poetry or performance can achieve true greatness without integrity."

In addition to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian, Dr. Sackler endowed galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at Princeton University, as well as a museum at Harvard University. After his death, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology opened at Peking University in Beijing.



Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

History and building
Arthur M. Sackler, Collector

Freer Gallery of Art

History and building
Charles Lang Freer


As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.