Empowering people to create a just and compassionate future by exploring, preserving and sharing the complexity of our past.
The National Museum of American History serves as the custodian of our nation’s collections and is honored to hold the public’s trust. At the heart of the museum are the dedicated professionals who care for its audiences, collections, resources, messages, buildings, and scholarship, all in service to the people of the United States. From our nearly 800,000-square-foot home on the National Mall and through our numerous online channels, the museum welcomes millions of people every year from across the country and around the world, free of charge. We are also much larger than ourselves: we are honored to benefit from the passion, advice, and support of our National Board and thousands of generous donors and volunteers.
As the nation’s history museum, we challenge ourselves to become the country’s most accessible, inclusive, relevant, and sustainable public history institution. To fulfill that role, by 2030 we will serve an audience that reflects the full racial, class, gender, ethnic, and geographic demographics of the United States.
We have a unique and cherished role as the only museum in the country dedicated to telling the full history of the United States. Knowledge of the past is not a luxury: it is a necessity for civic health. Learning history helps people understand that today’s world is not inevitable, but the result of myriad choices and actions made by individuals and communities. With this knowledge, they can take more informed, just, and compassionate actions to forge a shared future. The National Museum of American History is a forum where people engage with one another and with stories of the United States’ history that can inspire and challenge them. In our galleries and online, we have connected generations of Americans to deeply researched history via an exceptionally broad range of primary sources and material culture. We use our resources to help our visitors be inspired by the past, as well as share, debate, learn, and make sense of the contemporary world, so that we can together create a better future.