“more than 3 million artifacts—all true national treasures”
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research, and dynamic public outreach, we explore the infinite richness and complexity of American history. We help people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future.The National Museum of American History collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts—all true national treasures. We take care of everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat to Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Our collections form a fascinating mosaic of American life and comprise the greatest single collection of American history.Our exhibitions explore major themes in American history and culture, from the War of Independence to the present day. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War surveys the history of U.S. military conflicts and examines ways in which wars have been defining episodes in American history.America on the Move immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and sensations of transportation in the United States from 1870 to the present. Familiar favorites on view include The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, Within These Walls… and The First Ladies. New artifact walls and special cases mean that a larger selection of our objects are on display, creating a new way of experiencing history. A schedule of temporary and traveling exhibitions will offer visitors something new on almost every visit.The Museum hosts a full roster of public programs, from demonstrations, lectures, and tours to immersive live theater experiences. Music programs are offered by resident jazz and chamber music ensembles as well as guest performers. Our newly-renovated Warner Bros. Theater hosts world-class film programming. And the Nina and Ivan Selin Welcome Center provides complete information services for our visitors. The Museum’s Archives Center houses a remarkable array of American history in documents, photographs, and other works. These include the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, advertising histories of major U.S. corporations, and the Duke Ellington Collection—sheet music, correspondence and photographs related to the life and career of the great composer and jazz musician. Our website offers online exhibitions, behind-the-scenes glimpses into our collections and an overview of Museum programs and activities. Using the website, you can plan your visit to the Museum or go on a tour from your home. The Smithsonian’s History Explorer, the Museum’s new education Web site, offers free, standards-based, innovative resources for teaching and learning American history. We even have our own blog, “O Say Can You See,” where you can stay updated on what’s happening at the Museum. More than ever before, the National Museum of American History today shines new light on American history. The museum works to ensure that our collections, exhibitions, research, publications and educational programs all support the Museum’s basic mission—to inspire a broader understanding of our nation and its many peoples—and to make our exhibitions and programs as accessible as possible to all visitors.
I don't know if it's because I'm American or a graphic designer, but the American flag exhibit made me cry. Actually, all of the exhibits made me cry. I love America, I love history, and I love the National Museum of American History. I will agree with Tatiana that it presents a very, well, selective view of history, but fortunately, there are a dozen other museums that will also make you cry! (Don't get me started on the Holocaust Museum!) Also, it rained pretty hard the day I visited this museum and I was able to purchase a stellar Wizard of Oz pair of socks for my cold feet.
Really well-done Museum showcasing American history (albeit a very favorable impression of America, but hey, you're in the country!). I still find the Natural History museum to be more enjoyable, but both are necessary visits if you're in DC
If this is the museum of American history, it's sorely lacking in a substantial Native American exhibit. I get that there's an incredible Native American museum in DC, but how can you talk about American History and leave out the plight of the Native Americans! The cafeteria is pretty good though.
I really enjoyed this museum. It is one of those places that you could spend the whole day exploring. What's nice, too, is that it is much less crowded than the Museum of Natural History, and I would say that it has better exhibits, too.
For this visit the National Museum of American History only gets four stars. I had not been here for many years because the last time I was here over seven years ago it was under renovations. It seems like it still is. There are many of the halls that are still under development and it seemed like a large part of it did not have as much as I remember.
The food and transportation halls were my favorite this time. I was impressed with the focus on food in our culture in the food exhibit and it was fun to see the products and chefs that we have grown up with during the last 30 to 40 years.
The American in Conflict exhibit was also very well done. There were some great features that really impacted some of the veterans that were in my group of people who visited the museum as well.
We only had about 2 1/2 hours so I know that I missed a number of important things like Kermit the Frog and the ruby slipper. This just gives me a reason to return again soon and see even more of the Smithsonian and hopefully get them back up to a 5-star rating.
Cool to see the artifacts they have gathered, particularly the American flag exhibit. The layout is wonky to say the least. Many of the exhibits did not seem to have a lot to do with each other. (Ex. a section have Muppets, artifacts from the 1700s, and toys from the 1970s all together without a main theme of "Children's Items" or any sort of common thread.) As stated by other Roadtrippers users, there should be a significant section dedicated to Native Americans and there is not. The cafeteria, while expensive, actually had really good food. Overall, worth seeing but supplement with other museums to gain a full and unbiased understanding of American history.
I've been a few times and the exhibits are excellent. Between now, summer 2015 and 2017 there are a lot of exhibits being redone so not as much is available to see.
I love America and I love museums but I quickly got annoyed with the bus loads of disrespectful children and Tweens that file into this museum. Dragging each other across the floor, jumping, pushing, acting like the things that are displayed here aren't worth their attention, respect, and time. Be prepared for large groups.
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National Museum of American History
- Sun - Sat: 10:00 am - 7:30 pm
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