There is always something going on at the National Museum of American History! Check out our exciting array of daily programs, exhibitions, and materials.
Depending on the day and time of your visit, students can get their hands on history at interactive carts featuring reproduction objects, talk with gallery interpreters or Museum staff, or "step back into time" with actors portraying characters from the past in live theater presentations. We offer daily programs, self-guides, and pre- and post-visit materials. Reservations are NOT required for any programs or tours.
Register Your School Group
Knowing who our visitors are helps us to better craft programs and materials. Please complete the online registration form to help us better serve you.
For more information such as lunch options and chaperone requirements, see our School Group Guidelines below.
Student and Teacher Videos & Materials for Your Museum Visit
Watch Before You Visit! A Teacher Orientation Video
This orientation video for teachers outlines some of the logistical details to consider when planning a field trip to the National Museum of American History. The video also illustrates a few museum dos and don'ts.
Watch Before You Visit! A Student Orientation Video
This orientation video for students outlines some of the most exciting exhibitions at the National Museum of American History. The video also illustrates a few museum dos and don'ts.
Students can explore the Museum and answer questions about what they see by using these self-guides. Be sure to download these materials before your visit.
- Museum highlights for elementary and middle grades
For a great overview of the Museum, use these self guides.
Grades 4-6 (.pdf)
- The 39 Clues for ages 7 - 11
Test your clue-hunting skills like Amy and Dan Cahill. Also, don’t miss The 39 Clues online field trip: Decoding History.
The 39 Clues guide (.pdf)
- American Girl for ages 8 - 13
Explore the worlds of these American Girls by finding objects and photos of their eras throughout the Museum.
American Girl self-guide (.pdf)
- Addy’s World for ages 8 - 13
Explore life during the Civil War with Addy Walker, an American Girl.
Addy's World self-guide (.pdf)
- America on the Move exhibition
How has transportation influenced the way we get what we eat, helped people immigrate and migrate, or affected American businesses? Find out using these self-guides.
Foods on the Move for grades 4-6
People on the Move for grades 7-9
Businesses on the Move for grades 7-9
- On the Water exhibition for grades 5 - 8
Explore America as a maritime nation with this self-guide.
On the Water guide
- Women's History Month for grades 6-12
Take a tour through history and learn how American women have stood up, spoken out, and come together to change the country.
Women's History Month self-guide (.pdf 4K)
Women's History Month self-guide (.pdf 3M)
Pre-visit and post-visit sheets for selected daily programs
- Join the Student Sit-ins for grades 5-12
Would you have been brave enough to join the civil rights protest at the lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina? Meet a 1960 student activist and join a training session for protestors based on a 1960s manual. Check the performance schedule for availability. Pre- and post-materials are available, along with a video of the performance here.
School Group Guidelines
Groups may purchase their lunches through the group sales web page or individually at our Stars & Stripes Café. Brown bag lunches may be eaten outside on our terrace or on the National Mall. We do not offer storage or eating facilities for brown bag lunches inside the Museum.
- Be considerate of all visitors
- Walking and talking are appropriate, while running and shouting are not
- Food, drinks, and gum, are not allowed anywhere in the museum except the designated eating areas
- Our exhibits are delicate: Please do not touch exhibits or lean on exhibit cases
- If students or chaperones use MP3 players, cell phones, or other electronics, please be sure that their use does not disturb other visitors
- 1 adult for every 5 students, grades pre-k through 2
- 1 adult for every 10 students, grades 3 – 7
- 1 adult for every 15 students, grades 8 – 12
The Museum has over 150,000 square feet of public space, and it is easy to get disoriented or lost. We recommend printing museum maps for students and chaperones. Printable maps can be located here.
Beyond Your Visit: Materials for the Classroom, After School Programs, and Home
Smithsonian's History Explorer is your gateway to innovative, standards-based online resources for teaching and learning American history, designed and developed by the National Museum of American History as part of Verizon's Thinkfinity.org consortium. Explore the rich resources of the Museum and bring history to life with artifacts, primary sources, and online tools for the classroom, afterschool programs, and home.
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Subscribe to our monthly e-mail newsletter. Be sure to check the "For Educators" category to receive information on new resources, events, and more. Follow @explorehistory on Twitter for educator-focused content. You can also read our blog; it takes readers behind the scenes at the Museum with insights and information about our research, collections, exhibitions, programs, and more!