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“Absolutely a DO NOT MISS”

National Museum of the American Indian
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Customized Private Sightseeing Tour of DC
Ranked #52 of 447 things to do in Washington DC
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The National Museum of the American Indian houses artifacts, art, historical and cultural objects from Native Indian communities in the Hemisphere.
Dover, Delaware
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Absolutely a DO NOT MISS”
Reviewed October 16, 2012

This museum is fairly new and the architecture is very unique. The displays are well done and there is a 'storyteller' who gives information and plays a tribal drum. He's amazing!

Visited October 2012
Thank hd0829
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Arlington, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Exhibits Are Just OK But Definitely Go To The Cafeteria - YUM!”
Reviewed October 10, 2012

I admit the exhibits are just ok, some are interesting but none wildly captivated me. However, I recommend to anyone who will be visiting the Smithsonian Museums to go to this particular cafeteria for lunch, regardless of whether or not you check out the actual museum itself. They have some more typical things that would be ok for the kiddos while you will be eating fare such as lobster roll, buffalo chili, tamales, and salmon.

Visited November 2011
Thank jco71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 189 helpful votes
“Horse exhibit brings a mediocre museum up a notch...”
Reviewed October 10, 2012

The best aspect of this museum is the horse exhibit. Despite its flaws, the horse exhibit has some consistency and organization. As a horse/animal lover, I found the presence of the horses moving and the exhibit easy to follow. The rest of the museum is disjointed and a bit flat. I am not sorry I went, but would not return.

Visited October 2012
Thank Samba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
177 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Great Addition to the Smithonian!”
Reviewed October 10, 2012

As you approach the building, the exterior architecture blows you away. It feels like you are transported out of DC to somewhere in the Southwest. The attention to detail and excellent exhibits on the inside will keep you busy for hours. The restaurant features native American food from various locations. The food is well marked with vegetarian and gluten free options. It was an unexpected culinary delight!

Visited September 2012
Thank MissMuffet63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hyattsville, Maryland
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“High expectations, no delivery”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

Yesterday we went to see the Horse exhibit that runs to February 2013. What a let-down! This museum uses outdated exhibit techniques from 40 years ago: glass case after glass case; a dearth of interactive and audiovisual elements, everything kind of flat and dead. My expectation was that we'd truly learn about the relationship between the American Indian and the horse over the aeons. I expected dynamic portrayals of horses used in war, farming, transport, and pleasure riding. Instead I saw some horse head-dresses, a couple of riding outfits, some stretched fabric that seemed to tell a violent story, 1-2 bridles with severe bits that I was curious about -- all in labeled, glass cases. No interpretation support. Only two A/V elements: a push-button audio piece that said "horse" in various Indian languages, and a film that showed Indians talking about horses but rarely interacting with them. (One guy in the film patted a horse, but that was it.)

What a lost opportunity! Where were the sights and sounds of Indian horseback sports (not the lame barrel-racing in the one film) and gorgeously adorned Indian horses in parades? Where was the genetics discussion of how Indians bred for the flashy, spotted patterns of their Nez Perce/Appaloosa horses? Where was the discussion of the evolution of the Indian saddle? What about showing us how Indian children learn to ride and how they earned their own horse? What about their training techniques?

Clearly the exhibit-designers know little about how to make an exhibit come alive, how to use interactive technology, how to offer the museum-goer some interpretation to reinforce their learning enjoyment. And, clearly, the exhibit-designers know little about horses ... and horse-lovers. Alas! you could have attracted every horse-lover in a 60-mile radius to this exhibit. Instead, I will have to tell my horse-loving friends not to bother. One last point: the first two floors of the museum are a real turn-off: one floor points you to a cafe, the other points you to a gift store. We had to work hard to find the exhibit we came to see.

Visited October 2012
2 Thank DanaGrabiner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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