1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History



National Museum of American History

Photo © Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts of American history and culture, from the War of Independence to the present day. The Smithsonian's world class museum offers a wide range of exhibits that demonstrate the diversity of America’s history and culture.

The National Museum of American History reopened in 2008 after a 2 year and $85 million renovation. The remodeling provided a dramatic new presentation of the original Star-Spangled Banner, a chance to see the White House copy of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and a transformation of the museum's extensive collections. The museum is currently renewing the building’s 120,000-square-foot west exhibition wing. (The museum’s center core and east wing remain open) The plans will add new galleries, an education center, interior public plazas and performance spaces as well as modernizing the infrastructure in this section of the building. A new panoramic window on the first floor will give a sweeping view of the Washington Monument and connect visitors to the National Mall’s landmarks.

Exhibit Highlights:

The museum maintains temporary and traveling exhibits that offer visitors something new each time you visit.

  • The Star-Spangled Banner - a must-see - tells the story of the flag that inspired the national anthem.
  • America on the Move is a favorite for all ages, using sights, sounds, and sensations to explore the history of transportation in the United States from 1870 to the present.
  • American Stories showcases historic and cultural touchstones of American history with more than 100 objects, including the rarely displayed walking stick used by Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln’s gold pocket watch, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves and a fragment of Plymouth Rock.
  • Other popular exhibits include The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, First Ladies at the Smithsonian and the Price of Freedom: Americans at War.

    See pictures of some of the most popular artifacts


Hands-on Activities for Kids:

Kids will have the most fun using their imaginations at the Spark! Lab, a hands-on science and invention center and riding a Chicago Transit Authority car in America on the Move. They'll marvel over displays of Kermit the Frog and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Throughout the museum there are plenty of opportunities to use touch stations to learn something new.

Programs and Tours of the National Museum of American History:

The National Museum of American History hosts a wide range of public programs, from demonstrations and lectures to storytelling and festivals. Music programs include chamber music ensembles, a jazz orchestra, gospel choirs, folk and blues artists, Native American singers, dancers, and more.

Guided tours are given Tuesday–Saturday, 10:15 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.; other times as announced. Tours begin at the Mall or Constitution Avenue Information Desks.


14th Street and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20560
(202) 357-2700
See a map of the National Mall
The nearest Metro stations to the National Museum of American History are Smithsonian or Federal Triangle.

Museum Hours:

Open 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
Closed December 25.

Dining at the National Museum of American History:

The Constitution Cafe offers sandwiches, salads, soups, and hand-dipped ice cream. Stars and Stripes Cafe offers American fare. See more about restaurants and dining Near the National Mall.

Official Website: www.americanhistory.si.edu

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.