Glenstone Museum Expansion

See more art treasures from this private collection

BY ROBIN CHERRY — Spring 2019

 near-death experience on a Russian fishing trip in 1998 left billionaire industrialist Mitchell Rales determined to leave behind something of lasting value. Thus, in 2006, Rales and his wife, Emily, opened Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Md., to share their Glenstone Foundation’s vast collection of modern and contemporary art with visitors. The small private museum with 9,000 square feet of exhibition space on 100 acres of bucolic land operated mostly under the radar — until now. A $200 million expansion the two highly regarded collectors unveiled in October seems destined to significantly increase the number of visitors to the museum, located about 15 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. To showcase more of the foundation’s impressive postwar art, the Rales added a Thomas Phifer-designed building called the Pavilions with
50,000 square feet of exhibition space in 11 distinct rooms. Some rooms showcase the work of a single artist — including Brice Marden’s only commissioned work; others display iconic art by masters such as Giacometti, Pollock, Rothko, and Warhol. The Raleses also added 130 acres for displaying more of their outdoor sculpture installations. 

Details: Admission is free but limited to 400 visitors a day; make advance reservations online. 301-983-5001;

Don’t miss: Jeff Koons’ 37-foot-tall Split Rocker, which splices together the toy heads of a rocking horse and a dinosaur. From spring to fall, 50,000 blooms cover it.


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