A Guide To Visiting Nmaahc
The NMAAHC is a very popular museum and you can expect lines to enter, especially right when the museum opens at 10am and for walk-up entry on weekends at 1pm. Even if you have obtained a timed entry pass, you might encounter lines at the security entrance during peak season.
Once you clear security, the museum itself is self-guided. All guests enter the museum in Heritage Hall We suggest taking the escalators downstairs to the lower level, known as the Concourse. This is where you can access the three floors of history galleries and it is the only way to enter that portion of the museum.
You can expect there might be a line at this point, especially during peak season. The history gallery experience begins in an elevator that takes you to the lowest level of the museum. The first exhibit highlights the Atlantic Slave Trade and it works its way chronologically up to 2008 and the election of the first African-American President.
The history galleries empty you right next to the Contemplative Court, a perfect spot to reflect and relax before heading upstairs. On the upper levels , you will find exhibitions highlighting the cultural contributions of African-Americans, community galleries, and more. You can find a detailed breakdown of the museum here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/visit/maps
Washingtons Best Museum Cafe
The lowest rung on the food ladder was once the museum cafeteria. But in recent years the Smithsonian has changed the rules.
Not only is the new National Museum of African American History & Culture the toughest ticket in town, but its Sweet Home Cafe is equally celebrated. The food, an extension of the exhibits, provides a literal taste of African-American culture. The restaurants four dining stationsNorth States, Creole Coast, Agricultural South and Western Range recognizes a tasty heritage with dishes like buttermilk fried chicken, and shrimp and grits. Or try Son-of-a-Gun stew, popularized by Black cowboys.
Lines form for the fried chicken, ribs, and shrimp and grits, but for something different try the pan-fried trout stuffed with cornbread and greens. And for dessert, you owe yourself a sweet potato tart, which tastes like grown-up pumpkin pie. Its an educational experience, after all.
Where Is The Nmaahc
There are many ways to get there and it is a short walk from many other destinations on the National Mall. We recommend this link for specific directions to the museum:
The nearest Metro Stations are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian It is also a short walk from Metro Center The Circulator Bus drops at the Washington Monument, just across the street from the museum. For more information on navigating the Metro, check out our blog post HERE.
Alternatively, many of the hop on hop off buses have a stop nearby to the NMAAHC.
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Accessibility At The Museum
The museum is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and has accessible facilities and entrances. A limited number of free manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis but you can request one when reserving a timed-entry pass.
American Sign Language interpretation and access services are available for scheduled programming by contacting the museum with two weeks advance notice. T-Loops are available at the Welcome Desk and open captioning is included in all exhibition videos. There are National Park Service designated accessible parking spaces along Madison Drive NW adjacent to the museum.
Visit U Street Nw In The Shaw Neighborhood
North of the National Mall is the Shaw neighborhood, named after Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who during the American Civil War accepted command of the first all-black regiment in the Northeast.
This area is where a lot of escaped enslaved persons settled and started businesses catering to the African American community.
You can learn more about this neighborhood on our self guided audio U Street walking tour. including the childhood home of Duke Ellington, the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, and learn more about some of the first black-owned businesses in the city.
For Black History Month, explore Shaw and support local businesses. Try the great dining experiences and immerse yourself in the uniqueness that is the Shaw neighborhood.
Some of our favorite black-owned eateries in the neighborhood to eat at all times are:
- Ben’s Chili Bowl
- Dukem Ethiopian
- Calabash Tea and Tonic
U street is known as “Black Broadway”. It is rich with black history and there are a number of ways to explore it!
Take a Walking Tour! We offer walking tours of U Street for groups. To book a tour, click here.
We also have a self-guided food and history tour, which includes stops like the historic Howard Theater, in front of which is a statue of jazz legend Duke Ellington.
Each at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Ben’s Chili Bowl is rich in history. It survived the riots that took place all over after the assassination of MLK.
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Does The Smithsonian Have Free Admission
There is no admission fee to all museums or zoos, except the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, which is free. Only the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Zoo, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City require time-entry passes.
Alexandria Black History Museum
The Alexandria Black History Museum includes the Museum, the Watson Reading Room, and the Alexandria African American Heritage Park. Other African American historic sites in Alexandria include the Freedom House Museum, the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, and sites along the African American Heritage Trail.
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How Do The Tickets Work
The Smithsonian is distributing timed passes, meaning entries will be staggered in 15-minute intervals. Theres no limit on how long people can spend inside the museum, which spans the entire arc of black history in America, from the 15th-century origins of the Atlantic slave trade to today. The museum opens with five floors of exhibits, with more than 3,000 objects on display along with 13 interactive exhibits and nearly 200 video features. The Smithsonian recommends multiple visits.
With Nmaahc Mobile You Can
- Search for objects from our collection found throughout the Museum
- Explore stories from our inaugural exhibitions
- Watch videos and experience AR features to enhance your visit
- Connect with social media to share your favorite stories
- Plan your visit and explore all 8 levels of the Museum with our floor-by-floor maps
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Learn About The Enslaved Persons Of Mt Vernon
Like a lot of our Founding Fathers, our first president George Washington enslaved people on his plantation. You can visit Mount Vernon and learn about them. Mount Vernon is located in Alexandria, Virginia, but it is easy to get there by car or metro.
Mount Vernon offers an ‘Enslaved People of Mount Vernon’ specialty tour and you can reserve tickets for those here. You can also visit the enslaved persons’ memorial located near George Washington’s tomb.
National Museum Of African American History & Culture
One of the newest and most popular museums in the Washington DC area is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is part of the growing Smithsonian Institute and is located at the west end of the National Mall. Because of its popularity, the NMAAHC requires a ticket for entry. For decades there has been a demand for a museum to honor the many who have fought for freedom and equality for all men and women in the United States. Finally, that cry has been answered.
The museum gives an in-depth look into the lives of African Americans from the earliest days of our history until modern times. The struggles and the triumphs are all on display in a host of exhibits and displays.
You will want to spend hours here as you experience what life has been like for millions. You will laugh and you will cry as you explore this multi-floor museum and all it has to offer.
Request a Customized Tour to Washington DC for your Group
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Tips For Getting Tickets To Nmaahc And When They Are Not Necessary
The Smithsonians National Museum of African American History and Culture announces no-ticket days and afternoons
Associate Editor, Special Projects
Visiting Smithsonians National Museum of African American History and Culture without timed-entry passes, or tickets, just got easier. The recently-announced 2019 guidelines mark a significant change for the museum, which has seen almost 5 million visitors since its historic 2016 opening. NMAAHC is open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day of the year except for Christmas Day, December 25. The museum is free, but entry is governed by a system of timed-entry passes, or tickets. The new 2019 policies expand the hours visitors can walk in without timed-entry passes. Heres how walk-up entry and the passes will work in 2019 and over the holiday season.
Notable Items In The Collection
The Smithsonian Institution listed the number of items in the museum collection in 2012 as either more than 18,000 pieces or more than 25,000 pieces.CBS News reported in May 2015 that the collection size had grown to 33,000 objects, although this had risen to more than 40,000 objects by May 2019. About 3,500 items are on display to the public.
Items obtained by the museum initially were received, conserved, and stored at the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland. Dozens of permanent curatorial staff and temporary contractors accessed the items, repaired them, and conserved them in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment. Renée Anderson, the NMAAHC’s head of collections, oversaw the effort. After artifacts were selected for display, graphics and labels for each item were manufactured. Display cases for each item were also purchased, and exhibiting mounts or specially designed cases handcrafted for particularly fragile, important, or unusually sized objects. Museum officials said all artifacts and displays will be moved into the new museum in the summer of 2016, along with the museum’s 175 full-time employees.
As of September 2016, notable items in the collection included:
20th and 21st centuries
Modern Art Installations
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Tickets And Other Practicalities
The museum opens daily from 10am to 5.30pm and admission is free. All visitors, regardless of age, need a timed entry pass, which can be reserved online here or by phone at 1-800-514-3849.
Timed-entry passes are released up to 30 days in advance on a rolling basis. A limited number of same-day timed-entry passes are released online throughout each day, beginning at 8.15am EST. An individual can reserve up to six passes for their visit.
Print your timed-entry passes at home or present them on a mobile device for entry. You can enter the museum after your scheduled time and are permitted to stay until closing.
The entrance to the museum is at 15th Street and Madison Drive NW. The easiest way to visit is by using public transportation, and the closest Metro stations are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian . There are no Smithsonian Institution public parking facilities on the National Mall, and the nearest public parking garage is located at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
How Much Are Tickets To The Smithsonian
A free admission to any of the Smithsonian museums in Washington is available. This online service is free. There are no closings on Fridays or Saturdays at the museums. ) (On Christmas Day, the Smithsonian will be closed. There are no late hours. (I.e., 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The office is open from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
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No Ticket Weekdays September Through February
The biggest shift for 2019 museumgoers is that on weekdays, in the off-peak fall and winter months from September to February, no tickets are required. This policy goes into effect January 2019. The museums designated walk-up entry policy will be offered throughout the work week, Monday through Friday, but timed-entry passes or tickets will still be required on weekend days.
See The Rosa Parks Exhibit
The beautiful Library of Congress has an incredible exhibition in their Jefferson Library dedicated to Rosa Parks, civil rights activist.
This exhibit displays rarely seen documents and showcases her life and activism, letting viewers learn more about this activist who refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
For a preview of the exhibit before you go, click here.
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Where And What Is The Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW on the National Mall. The four-level museum opened on Sept. 24, 2016, becoming the only national museum solely dedicated to the documentation of African American life, history and culture. This Smithsonian Institution museum is an architectural marvel that features numerous interactive exhibits.
The museum is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. 4 p.m. The easiest way to get there is via Metrorail or the DC Circulator. The closest Metro stop is Federal Triangle on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. The DC Circulators National Mall route is your best bus option, and it will be easy to continue your exploration of the National Mall afterwards. The facility is handicap-accessible.
Visit The Frederick Douglass House
This might be the first time you’re hearing of this place, but the Frederick Douglas House is an incredible museum in the home of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglas.
He lived there from 1877 until his death in 1895 and is a National Historic Site located in Anacostia.
The home is free to visit and has guided tours running throughout the day.
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Certain Days Dont Require Tickets
The National Museum of African American museum has two seasons: peak and off-peak. Peak is from March-August. Off-peak is from September-February.
During off-peak dates, you can walk up after 10am Monday-Friday and head into the museum without tickets. On peak dates, you can walk up after 1pm Monday-Friday and head into the museum without tickets. Walk-up entry is not available on Saturdays or Sundays during either peak or off-peak dates due to the high demand.
Top Ten Things To Do During Black History Month In Dc
DC is a great place to visit during Black History Month. There are many places to see and things to do to honor those who have made a difference in our nation’s history.
While a lot of these can be enjoyed year-round, we also added special events that are available only during this month.
Be sure to look into purchasing a tourist discount pass for more ideas of things to do in DC for cheap.
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Whats Inside The Museum
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is a state-of-the-art building that addresses nearly every aspect of the African American experience, covering the arts, slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, athletics and much more. The buildings exterior, conceived by Ghanaian-born architect David Adjaye, is artfully made up of a three-tiered, bronze-colored screen. This lattice pays tribute to the intricate ironwork forged by enslaved African Americans in the southern United States.
The museums collection of artifacts is astounding: 3,500 are on view, with another 35,000 or so in the collection. Standout items include a shawl given to Harriet Tubman by Queen Victoria, training aircraft used by the Tuskegee Institute, an invitation to President Obamas 2009 inauguration and a boombox owned by Chuck D of Public Enemy.
Navigating the entirety of the NMAAHC would be very difficult to accomplish in one visit, and the breadth of its exhibits is astonishing. However, there are several displays that you should be aware of before you go.
The Musical Crossroads exhibit details the history African American music, from the arrival of the first Africans to today. From jazz to hip-hop, African American musicians brought forth new forms of expression that lit a candle for liberty, justice and change. You will be able to experience the emergence of some of Americas finest art forms and the amazing creative expressions that came from them.
Top 10 Places To Learn About Black History In Dc
There’s plenty to do during the month of February to learn more about the black history of DC!
There are memorials to visit, tours to take, museums to explore, all celebrating black history.
This post covers things to do in Washington DC during Black History Month including a top 10 list, nighttime activities, family-friendly things to do, and free things.
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How To Get Free Tickets To The National Museum Of African American History & Culture
The Smithsonians National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in September of 2016. It is an amazing museum that is worth a visit on on any trip to Washington, DC. That said, its still very new and very popular, so unlike other museums on the National Mall, you need a free ticket if you want to go. Its not difficult to get one but you will have to wake up early.