Visiting the Museum FAQs

We're so pleased you are planning a visit to your National Museum of American History! If you have a question that isn't answered below, please check our Plan Your Visit section of the site or submit your question now.

How long should I plan for my visit to the Museum?

It is difficult to say how much time it would take to visit any of the Smithsonian museums.  So much depends on the age and interests of those in your group.   We recommend that you review our list of exhibitions and our list of events to get a sense of the kinds of activities you’d like to participate in during your visit.  You may also wish to sign up for our free email newsletter for the latest information.

I will be coming straight from the airport. Are there lockers or some way to store my bag while I visit the Museum?

The Museum has a limited number of lockers available. The dimensions are: 

Small- Height 16", Width of door 8.5", Width of interior 12", Depth 16" 
Medium- Height 22", Width of door 8.5", Width of interior 12", Depth 16" 
Large- Height 34", Width of door 8.5", Width of interior 12", Depth 16" 
Due to the narrow width of our lockers, carry-on suitcases most likely will not fit into even the largest lockers. There is no other facility for checking bags.
Is internet access available for visitors in the Museum?

Free WiFi access is available in the Constitution Cafe (first floor) and the Stars and Stripes Cafe (lower level).

Someone from my family has donated an object to the Museum. Is it available for viewing?

The Museum is home to more than 3 million objects. The best way to find out if a particular object is available for viewing is to contact the Museum's Office of Curatorial Affairs by email.

I am planning to visit the Museum with kids. Do you have any tips?

Check out our FAQ for Visiting the Museum with Kids for tips on hands-on activities, guided tours, and more.  Our Plan Your Field Trip page also includes information on visiting with students.

May I take pictures in the museum?

Video cameras and flash photography are permitted in the Museum with the exception of a few exhibitions (such as the Star-Spangled Banner) and the Albert H. Small Documents Gallery) that are clearly marked.

You are invited to share photos and memories of your Museum visit with other fans by joining our group on the Flickr photo-sharing Web site.

Public use of a tripod is not permitted. News photographers and videographers need to make arrangements with the Office of Public Affairs by calling 202-633-3129.

How many objects are on view?

The National Museum of American History has approximately 3 million objects in its collections, and about 5–8% of the collection is on view at any one time.

How much does admission to the Museum cost?

Admission is always free at the National Museum of American History. No tickets are required.

Do you have any facilities or area that I may nurse my child?

While we do not currently have any private nursing areas, there are a few quieter spots in the Museum that may be more conducive to nursing your child. On the second floor, West wing, just at the end of the First Ladies exhibition, there is a small seating area that is a bit quieter and off the main traffic pattern. Likewise, on the first floor, East wing, there are one or two seating areas at the end of the hallway that are less trafficked during the day. We also have family restrooms available, on the first and second floors.

Are backpacks, water bottles, and snack items allowed in the museum?

We do allow backpacks in our Museum. We have a limited number of lockers available should you wish to store it, but it is not required. Visitors are permitted to bring in food and beverages in resealable containers inside a backpack or other bag. Food and beverages may not be consumed anywhere in the Museum except for the two designated cafeterias.

Do you provide wheelchairs for visitors?

A limited number of wheelchairs are available free of charge for use while visiting the Museum. Visitors may ask for assistance from Security officers at either entrance.

Learn more on our Information for Visitors with Disabilities page.