National Museum of the American Indian SW Washington DC
Where is it at?
National Museum of the American Indian
4th St. and Independence Ave
SW Washington DC
Where are we going today?
The National Museum of the American Indian houses one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of its kind. The museum’s sweeping curvilinear architecture, its indigenous landscaping, and its exhibitions, all designed in collaboration with tribes and communities from across the hemisphere, combine to give visitors from around the world the sense and spirit of Native America.
Established by an act of Congress in 1989, the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic to Argentina, to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.
The museum also features an interactive, family-friendly imagiNATIONS Activity Center where visitors can take part in hands-on activities like indigenous inventions and activities, including drumming, basket-weaving, ledger-drawing, skateboarding and storytelling.
When can we go?
10am - 5:30pm
The museum’s Mitsitam Cafe enhances the museum experience by providing visitors the opportunity to enjoy the indigenous cuisines of the Americas and to explore the history of Native foods. (“Mitsitam” means “Let’s eat!” in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples). The Cafe features Native foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains. Each of the five food stations depict regional cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary dishes. Selections include authentic Native foods such as traditional fry bread and corn totopos as well as contemporary items with a Native American twist—think buffalo burgers!.
What people are saying?
by Shana Manuel
Hands down one of the most beautiful, ornate and clean museums I've had the pleasure of visiting. Trust me, I've been to some of the best museums in the world. The exhibits here are engaging and enlightening. My 5 year old thoroughly enjoyed the children's area (ImagiNation) on the 3rd floor. I loved that passports were given to the children as a keepsake and that they were able to add stamps throughout the exhibits. Also, must visit the museum store on the 2nd floor. I'm still chomping down on the Lakota popcorn..delish!
by Martin Smith
The building and space are fantastic. The exhibits and the way they're laid out didn't do much for me though. I can imagine they had a hard time on how to present this subject. If you already have a strong interest in this you might like it so don't let me put you off too much.
by Charissa Huie
Excellent museum. Informative, sensitive and very educational. However, avoid eating in the cafeteria at all cost. Food is overpriced and very low quality. Additionally, the cafeteria staff is rude, uninterested and short. Everything was fine until we stopped to eat.
Instead of eating at ANY of the museum cafes, take a short walk at go to the section in the National Mall where food trucks park.
by Lucy Dee
There are so many stories of the individual tribes here that it's truly hard to consider "Native Americans" a single entity. I love the design of the museum, how there are no square corners, just a winding flow that reflects the natural world. The waterfalls outside make a beautiful picture spot. Our tour guide focused on one exhibit about what it is to be "Native American", whether its a genetic distinction (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc), or whether its a cultural identity. Their cafe is also something worth stopping in to sample some native foods.
by Antonio D'souza
A large and eclectic collection of Native American art and artifacts. The tours are quite good too.