Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

FAQ – Visiting the Museum

We're pleased you are planning a visit to the 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.

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 event calendar 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 Wi-Fi access is available in most areas of the building. Look for the 'si-visitor' network.

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

To inquire whether a particular object is available for viewing, contact the museum’s Office of Curatorial Affairs.

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) that are clearly marked.

Public use of a tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks are not permitted. News photographers and videographers need to make arrangements with the Office of Communications and Marketing by calling 202-633-3129.

How many objects are on view?

The National Museum of American History has more than 1.7 million objects in its collection, and only a small fraction—perhaps less than 1%— 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 where I may nurse my child or pump?

While you are welcome to nurse/bottle feed your child or pump anywhere you feel comfortable within the museum, we are pleased to offer the following two options which may afford more privacy and convenience:

  • From 10 a.m.–4 p.m. most days of the week (the space is closed on Tuesdays) Wegmans Wonderplace is an option for anyone looking for a place to nurse, bottle feed, or pump. The bench in the back of the space is located directly next to an electrical outlet and a bathroom containing changing facilities. This option also allows for adults with multiple children to nurse, bottle feed, or pump while their other children play in Wegmans Wonderplace
  • The Museum's private Lactation Room is located on the second floor in the Welcome Center. This room is meant for single use only and includes a cushioned chair with arms, two small tables, a locking door, and an electrical outlet. Please note that this room does not have running water or diaper changing facilities, but both can be found in restrooms located close to the Welcome Center in the Museum's East and West wings.   
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 Accessibility page.