National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture
5
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
12:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
About
This 10-story Smithsonian Institution museum is dedicated to showcasing the African-American way of life, culture, and experiences through America's history.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Address
How to get there
  • Federal Triangle • 6 min walk
  • Smithsonian • 7 min walk
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See what other travelers are saying
  • jetsetfoodie
    10 contributions
    Must See Museum in the DC Area
    Our family decided to visit the DC area over the holidays and did not plan our trip until about 6 weeks before. We didn't realize you needed to secure tickets months in advance to visit this museum so needless to say we were unable to secure advanced tickets. However, upon arriving in DC, our hotel staff told us that the museum was no longer requiring tickets for entry. I'm not sure if this is a permanent change or if this was temporary for the holidays however it was very welcome news! The hours were also extended during the holidays so the museum stayed open until 8pm. We quickly added this museum back to our itinerary. We first attempted to visit the museum on the Saturday between Christmas and New Years, in the afternoon. Big mistake. The line was extensively long and more importantly, it was not moving (we were on line about 30 minutes). We left and returned Sunday morning about a half hour before opening and it was a much smoother process (it may have also helped that it was raining that day). We were able to enter the museum shortly after opening time. The museum itself is large and can easily consume the better part of a day if you take your time to view all of the exhibits. While it is no small feat to address centuries of African American history in a 5 floor building, I thought it was a great start. I did feel that some sections could have been condensed. For example, some of the athlete stories were repeated in multiple areas of the sports section. Likewise, there were other sections (such as the section that addressed organizations and leaders who fought for civil rights throughout the 1900s) that seemed shorted and which did not fully explain the importance and impact of particular individuals or organizations in African American history. In terms of flow, we followed the museum guide which directs you to start from the top of the museum and work your way down. However, chronologically, the museum seems to be curated from the bottom up which was a bit of a disconnect. The guide recommendation may have more to do with crowd control than curation. By the time we reached the ground level, we were told that the bottom floor was closed off for 45 minutes to an hour. This is also where the cafe is so I assume that had something to do with it. However, after standing on our feet for 4 hours, we opted not to wait around for another hour so we left and didn't get to check out the History Galleries on the ground floor. We will likely make a return trip at some point to see how the museum evolves and check out the bottom level. As an African American, I was really proud of this first step in documenting our history and the myriad of ways that African Americans have influenced the evolution of this country. I also hope that more diverse audiences will visit the museum. While there was plenty that I already knew, I also learned a lot so I can only imagine what others can potentially gain from the experience.
    Dear jetsetfoodie, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Written March 20, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited December 2019
    Written January 5, 2020
  • Kristen C
    Seattle, Washington386 contributions
    A moving experience
    This museum is fantastic. The historical collections are a must-see, taking you through centuries of Black history in America. I recommend getting there by 9:30, so you can be in line by the time the museum opens at 10. When I did that, I had no wait once inside and could enjoy the collections at my own pace without a wait and without the heavier crowds that come later in the day. The collections are sobering and powerful, especially the Emmett Till memorial. The museum is educational and worthwhile for all Americans.
    Dear MrsKNMC25, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Written March 19, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2020
    Traveled solo
    Written February 21, 2020
  • Pip L
    Wellington, New Zealand195 contributions
    Amazing, a must see!
    We didn’t realise that you needed to order timed tickets in advance, so felt very lucky to have been able to go online and get tickets for the same day. We faced no queue on arrival, and were actually able to enter early, I think we were just lucky on a cold Saturday in January. We also joined a tour, which ran for about 2 hours, which was led by an incredibly knowledgeable guide. We spent 4.5 hours at the museum (2 adults + 2 teenagers), but tbh, could have spent double that amount of time easily. It is a stunning museum, so much to see, and you want to stop and read every single thing. The displays are incredible, and the quality of the museum’s collection is immense. How did the museum decide what to display, I did wonder. I arrived knowing very little about American history, and left a lot wiser (and sadder, the history is devastating). This museum is an absolute must see!
    Dear PipL822, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for your comment on your visit. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Written March 20, 2020
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited January 2020
    Traveled with family
    Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
3,702 reviews
Excellent
3,115
Very good
408
Average
97
Poor
30
Terrible
52

jetsetfoodie
New York City, New York10 contributions
Dec 2019
Our family decided to visit the DC area over the holidays and did not plan our trip until about 6 weeks before. We didn't realize you needed to secure tickets months in advance to visit this museum so needless to say we were unable to secure advanced tickets. However, upon arriving in DC, our hotel staff told us that the museum was no longer requiring tickets for entry. I'm not sure if this is a permanent change or if this was temporary for the holidays however it was very welcome news! The hours were also extended during the holidays so the museum stayed open until 8pm. We quickly added this museum back to our itinerary. We first attempted to visit the museum on the Saturday between Christmas and New Years, in the afternoon. Big mistake. The line was extensively long and more importantly, it was not moving (we were on line about 30 minutes). We left and returned Sunday morning about a half hour before opening and it was a much smoother process (it may have also helped that it was raining that day). We were able to enter the museum shortly after opening time.

The museum itself is large and can easily consume the better part of a day if you take your time to view all of the exhibits. While it is no small feat to address centuries of African American history in a 5 floor building, I thought it was a great start. I did feel that some sections could have been condensed. For example, some of the athlete stories were repeated in multiple areas of the sports section. Likewise, there were other sections (such as the section that addressed organizations and leaders who fought for civil rights throughout the 1900s) that seemed shorted and which did not fully explain the importance and impact of particular individuals or organizations in African American history. In terms of flow, we followed the museum guide which directs you to start from the top of the museum and work your way down. However, chronologically, the museum seems to be curated from the bottom up which was a bit of a disconnect. The guide recommendation may have more to do with crowd control than curation. By the time we reached the ground level, we were told that the bottom floor was closed off for 45 minutes to an hour. This is also where the cafe is so I assume that had something to do with it. However, after standing on our feet for 4 hours, we opted not to wait around for another hour so we left and didn't get to check out the History Galleries on the ground floor. We will likely make a return trip at some point to see how the museum evolves and check out the bottom level.

As an African American, I was really proud of this first step in documenting our history and the myriad of ways that African Americans have influenced the evolution of this country. I also hope that more diverse audiences will visit the museum. While there was plenty that I already knew, I also learned a lot so I can only imagine what others can potentially gain from the experience.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear jetsetfoodie, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kristen C
Seattle, WA386 contributions
Feb 2020 • Solo
This museum is fantastic. The historical collections are a must-see, taking you through centuries of Black history in America. I recommend getting there by 9:30, so you can be in line by the time the museum opens at 10. When I did that, I had no wait once inside and could enjoy the collections at my own pace without a wait and without the heavier crowds that come later in the day.

The collections are sobering and powerful, especially the Emmett Till memorial. The museum is educational and worthwhile for all Americans.
Written February 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear MrsKNMC25, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 19, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Pip L
Wellington, New Zealand195 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
We didn’t realise that you needed to order timed tickets in advance, so felt very lucky to have been able to go online and get tickets for the same day. We faced no queue on arrival, and were actually able to enter early, I think we were just lucky on a cold Saturday in January. We also joined a tour, which ran for about 2 hours, which was led by an incredibly knowledgeable guide.
We spent 4.5 hours at the museum (2 adults + 2 teenagers), but tbh, could have spent double that amount of time easily. It is a stunning museum, so much to see, and you want to stop and read every single thing. The displays are incredible, and the quality of the museum’s collection is immense. How did the museum decide what to display, I did wonder.
I arrived knowing very little about American history, and left a lot wiser (and sadder, the history is devastating).
This museum is an absolute must see!
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear PipL822, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for your comment on your visit. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Rosebud39631
Ponchatoula, LA71 contributions
Feb 2020
This wonderful museum shares the history in a great way. Be prepared to walk though. There are three large floors under the ground that we didn't expect. You can get tickets on line to avoid the wait, and there is a locker to store your possessions while you tour. . The restaurant is an amazing, great priced, home cooked meal venue, even if you don't have time to tour the museum. The history of the athletes and musicians is great too.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Rosebud39631, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for your comment on your visit. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nelson T
Mandeville, LA590 contributions
Oct 2019
A great addition to the museums on the Mall. Allow lots of time and schedule your trip at other than a peak time. It can get very crowded. You will need a timed ticket booked in advance at certain times of the year. In early October we walked right in. Just a short line at security. The lower level floors are the historical floors. They cover everything from the beginning of the slave trade to the present day. Very powerful. Spend the time to take it all in. The upper floors are dedicated to African American culture. We particularly enjoyed the music and sports exhibits. There is a meditation room off to the side at the beginning of the lower levels with a fountain. Easy to overlook, but don't miss it. The Sweet Home self service cafe was handy and good, but a bit overpriced which is typical of most museum cafes in Washington.
Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Nelson T, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor and Guest Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 24, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Khai L
Austin, TX633 contributions
Jan 2020
This museum is usually difficult to get admission tickets, so the trick is to come during winter time. All you need to do is to walk-in. The earlier you arrive, the sooner you will get in.

This museum is informative and tells the history, the struggles, and the success of African Americans. A must see! The cool part is that the exhibition is underground.
Written January 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear KhaiLe1989, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 20, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

WHMeg
Willoughby Hills, OH498 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
Make sure you check the website to determine if you do or don’t need passes. If you don’t, you still will want to arrive before opening time in order to get in line to be admitted! If the weather is cold, make sure you wear enough outerwear to stay warm, but be aware that there is not a coat check but there are lockers in which you can place items. This is a museum for everyone... don’t pass it by because you don’t have African ancestry. Take your time viewing the exhibits (there are some interactive exhibits which are just as informative as some of the other displays). We spent an entire day at the museum and still didn’t have enough time to thoroughly peruse all of the exhibit areas. You may want to split your visit into two days, concentrating on the history areas one day and the other thematic exhibits the next. If you have many food intolerances or allergies, you won’t find much to eat in the cafe, although the offerings are quite tasty according to the other people with whom I visited the museum. You can not bring in outside food, so that may also determine your visiting schedule. Do make time to visit the extensive museum shop. I participate in an international postcard exchange and this museum store had the most postcards of any DC museum I’ve visited.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear WHMeg, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum, and we thank you for providing your personal experience and tips for visiting the museum. We hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written March 19, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Victoire Brillard
Bergues, France2 contributions
May 2019 • Solo
I highly recommend the NMAAH because as far as I’m concerned it's a beautiful place where you can better understand the full history of the United States. Furthermore it’s a place where you can go as a family, indeed I've seen a lot of grandparents tell their grandchildren their history and what they've been through. Everybody should visit this museum, it gives a breath of optimism, it makes you want to fight for your ideals because there are still too many issues that divide us. If you're going to Washington DC you must go there ! In addition you can see the White House and the US Capitol from the Museum. And I think it's really fantastic. It was a great experience and a very nice day but nonetheless there was a long line and a lot of people.
Written April 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear victorie_blld, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum and passion for African American history. We thank you for sharing your personal experience visiting the museum and hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor and Guest Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written February 3, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

genmasjoy
West Palm Beach, FL159 contributions
Aug 2021
I spent more than four hours at the museum. It is very impressive because it details African American History from its beginnings up through the modern era. The information is well presented through narration, objects, videos, photos, and art. It is comprehensive and fascinating. At the present time, visitors must reserve a timed ticket in advance. I highly recommend it.
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear genmasjoy, I spent more than four hours at the museum. It is very impressive because it details African American History from its beginnings up through the modern era. The information is well presented through narration, objects, videos, photos, and art. It is comprehensive and fascinating. At the present time, visitors must reserve a timed ticket in advance. I highly recommend it.
Written August 26, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kathy C
Los Angeles, CA103 contributions
Oct 2020
This museum remains so popular that in ordinary times you need to reserve admission several MONTHS in advance. Now you can reserve up to 30 days out and you need to go online and reserve admission in the morning 30 days out in order to be sure you can get in. It has an incredible collection of artifacts that bring you into the culture of accomplished African Americans and gives you remarkable insight into their lives outside of the activities that brought them fame.
Written November 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Kathy C, Thank you for visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture and providing your feedback. We appreciate your enthusiasm for the museum and passion for African American history. We thank you for sharing your personal experience visiting the museum and hope you plan to return! Thank you for visiting and submitting a review. Sincerely, Visitor and Guest Services National Museum of African American History and Culture
Written February 3, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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National Museum of African American History and Culture - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture is open:
  • Mon - Mon 12:00 PM - 5:30 PM
  • Tue - Sun 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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