Things to Know Before You Go
Here are some tips to make your visit to the Museum easier and more enjoyable. Staff are also available to answer your questions at either of the Museum’s two Welcome Desks.
Limit the Number of Bags: All visitors are screened through metal detectors upon entry. The fewer items you bring inside the Museum, the faster your entry (and that of visitors behind you). Groups arriving via bus are strongly encouraged to leave bags on the bus if possible.
Get through security in a breeze by reviewing the Museum's security policies. Note: visitors carrying prohibited items will not be allowed inside the Museum.
Please note that there may be a line to enter the Museum on busy days. Check lines at both entrances to the building (Constitution Ave. and National Mall) as one may have a shorter line. Visitors without bags may be able to use a speedier no-bag line.
Dress Comfortably: A visit to the Smithsonian usually involves a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes and layers of clothing.
Connect to our Wi–Fi: Connecting to our Wi–Fi is easy. Just choose SI-VISITOR, open a web browser, and accept the terms of service.
Food and Drink: Feeling hungry? Food and beverages that are properly closed and secured may be carried through the museums or stored in lockers near the first floor entrance during your visit. You may consume food and other drinks in the Stars and Stripes Café or the LeRoy Neiman Jazz Café, but not in other areas of the Museum. Groups who bring their own food are encouraged to picnic on the National Mall. We do not have bag lunch facilities available in the Museum.
Please Take Photos!: You are welcome to take photos for personal use (and share them on Flickr!). However, tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks are not permitted without prior approval. Members of the media should contact the Museum’s Office of Communications and Marketing for photography or filming requests.
Wheelchairs: A limited number of non-motorized wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis; please ask a security officer upon arrival. We do not provide strollers or motorized wheelchairs.
Use the Escalators: Please give priority for elevator use to visitors with disabilities and families with strollers by using the stairs and escalators. Do not take strollers on escalators, and please keep children from playing on them to avoid injury.
Maps and Guides: With four floors of exciting exhibits to explore, planning your route through the Museum will help make navigating easy no matter how much time you have. Printed Museum Guides are available for a suggested $1 donation at the Museum’s Welcome Desks. The Museum Guide is also available online if you wish to print out a copy before you visit.
Ask for Help: Security officers are located throughout the building to protect the Museum, its collections, and most importantly, our visitors. Please feel free to ask them for assistance. Museum ambassadors in blue shirts or volunteers at information desks can also help provide visitors with more tips on how to experience the Museum!
First Aid: The Museum Store on 1 Center sells first-aid items such as aspirin and bandages. For serious injuries or illnesses, please contact the nearest security officer for assistance.