As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

Accessibility

The National Museum of American History is an inclusive and welcoming place for all visitors.

All visitors will be required to book a free timed-entry pass to enter the building. Visitors will be able to secure up to six (6) passes maximum, for personal use only. A personal care attendant accompanying a visitor will also need a pass and will be counted as part of the group maximum size.

Information about daily accessibility offerings and scheduled access programs are below. For additional information, call 202-633-3717 or email NMAHVisitorServices@si.edu. Once in the museum, questions about accessibility may be directed to security personnel or to staff at the Information Desks.

Service dogs are welcome. The SI follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA requirements for service dogs. The dog must be trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability. Visitors are not allowed to bring emotional support animals into Smithsonian museums or onto Smithsonian properties.

Food and beverages that are properly closed and secured in sealed containers may be carried through the museum but may not be consumed unless necessary for medical reasons. 

Visitors with mobility disabilities

Mobility disability

Arriving and parking

The Smithsonian’s accessibility map locates accessible entrances, curb cuts, designated parking, and other features at and around Smithsonian museums. Please note the only available entrance is via the Constitution Ave. (north) entrance.

Vehicles with state-issued disability placards or license plates may park for a charge in metered, designated parking spaces on the streets surrounding the museum. For information about parking in metered spaces, visit the National Park Service website and District Department of Transportation website.

Accessible parking spaces are available, for a charge, in nearby parking garages. Reserved parking near the National Museum of American History can be purchased ahead of time through Parkwhiz

If you are using MetroAccess Paratransit, please use 1300 Constitution Avenue NW as the address for the museum.

Getting around the museum

All levels of the museum are accessible by elevator, including exhibition spaces and all public facilities.

All restrooms and water fountains are wheelchair accessible. Companion care restrooms are available on the first floor in the east and west wings opposite the escalators, and on the second floor in the east wing only. 

The museum's private lactation room, located on the second floor in the Welcome Center, is wheelchair accessible. 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.

Manual wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis while visiting the museum. Visitors may ask for assistance from Security officers at the entrance. Wheelchair locations and companion seating are available in the Warner Bros Theater.

Benches are located throughout the museums.

Visitors who are deaf or have hearing loss

Sign language interpretation of public programs and tours is available upon request. Real-time captioning of public programs is also available upon request. Because the museum does not have interpreters or captioning reporters on staff, two weeks’ notice is preferred. Please call 202-633-3717 or email NMAHVisitorServices@si.edu.

An induction loop assistive listening system is available at both information desks. The Warner Bros. Theater has an assistive listening system. Please ask staff for a receiver.

Assistive listening devices are available upon request for Highlights Tours and events in the Warner Bros Theater, the Hall of Music, Unity Square, and the Performance Plaza. Assistive listening equipment is made possible through a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

All videos with narration shown in conjunction with an exhibition are open captioned.

Visitors who are blind or have low vision 

The museum is a location for the Aira Access mobile information and verbal description service. Visitors can download the free Aira app on a smartphone, connect to the museum’s free Wi-Fi, and use the app to speak to an Aira agent using minutes provided courtesy of the Smithsonian. Visit Aira Access for more information, or download and read this Aira guide.

Visual description highlights are available for some exhibitions.

Tactile elements are included throughout the museum.

Guided tours are not available at this time. Contactless sighted guiding and tactile elements are available upon request. Advanced notice is preferred. Call 202-633-3717 or email NMAHVisitorServices@si.edu.

Braille and large-print brochures produced by the museum and the Smithsonian are available at the Information Desks. 

Visitors with cognitive disabilities

Quieter times to visit and quiet spaces in the museum

January, February, September, October, and December are usually less busy, quieter times of year to visit.

Visitation will vary depending on holidays, school vacations, weather, and other factors. Generally, the museum is more crowded in the afternoon. For more information, call 202-633-3717 or NMAHVisitorServices@si.edu.

There are quieter places and exhibits throughout the museum. Sound levels can vary depending on the time of day, time of year, and show schedules.

Sensory friendly materials and information

The museum offers tip sheets, sensory maps, social narratives, and visual schedules designed to help people with cognitive and sensory processing disabilities and their families/companions enjoy a visit to the museum:

Light, noise, and crowds vary widely throughout the building.

Consider bringing noise reducing headphones.

Upon entering the museum, all bags are screened by security. Please be prepared to open your bag for inspection. 

For more information, call 202-633-3717 or email NMAHVisitorServices@si.edu.

For younger visitors and teenagers

*Spark!Lab is currently closed.
Spark!Lab, located on the first floor of the west wing and geared toward children age 6 and older, is a good place to begin introducing a child to the museum. It offers multiple tactile experiences and limits its number of visitors to prevent overcrowding (though a wait for admission may be necessary). Resources to help you prepare for your visit to Spark!Lab are available here.

Access Programs

Morning at the Museum

National Museum of American History participates in Access Smithsonian’s Morning at the Museum program. Morning at the Museum is a sensory-friendly program for families of children with disabilities in which a specific museum opens early on a scheduled Saturday or Sunday morning. Museums offer activities for all ages, and families can also explore the museum at their own pace. Pre-registration is required for all Morning at the Museum programs. To learn more about Morning at the Museum, email Ashley Grady at access@si.edu or call 202-633-2921.

See Me at the Smithsonian

The National Museum of American History participates in Access Smithsonian’s See Me at the Smithsonian (See Me) program. See Me provides individuals with mild to moderate dementia and their care partners with a free opportunity to discuss and engage with American History's collections during an in-gallery or virtual experience.

Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to receive a list of dates and times, email Ashley Grady at access@si.edu or call 202-633-2921.