Things to Know Before You Go
Here are some tips to make your visit to the museum easier and more enjoyable.
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. Visitors carrying prohibited items will not be allowed inside the museum.
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: Water is permitted throughout the building. Please report any spilt water immediately. Food and beverages that are properly closed and secured may be carried through the museum during your visit. Food may only be consumed in approved areas to protect objects from pests. Food may be consumed in the Jazz Cafe, or outside weather permitting.
Photography: All face coverings must remain on while taking photos. To preserve the more than 200-year-old Star-Spangled Banner, we must prohibit photography in that gallery. Unless otherwise noted, we encourage photography throughout the rest of the museum. 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; 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: We recommend you print a museum map at home before coming to the museum. Floor plans are also posted throughout the museum. Try our free audio tours for desktop or mobile devices in English and Spanish. We also offer free self-guided tours in multiple languages.
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: For serious injuries or illnesses, contact the nearest security officer for assistance.