National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC

History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It was established in December 2003 and opened its permanent home in September 2016 with a ceremony led by President Barack Obama.

Early efforts to establish a federally owned museum featuring African-American history and culture can be traced to 1915, although the modern push for such an organization did not begin until the 1970s. After years of little success, a much more serious legislative push began in 1988 that led to authorization of the museum in 2003. A site was selected in 2006, and a design submitted by Freelon Group/Adjaye Associates/Davis Brody Bond was chosen in 2009. Construction began in 2012 and the museum completed in 2016.

The NMAAHC is the world's largest museum dedicated to African-American history and culture. It ranked as the fourth most-visited Smithsonian museum in its first full year of operation. The museum has more than 40,000 objects in its collection, although only about 3,500 items are on display. The 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2), 10 story building (five above and five below ground) and its exhibits have won critical praise.

A visit to National Museum of African American History and Culture represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Washington DC trip itinerary planner to plot your vacation.
Improve this listing »
Create an itinerary including National Museum of African American History and Culture

Tours to National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
3,512 reviews
  • A must see and worth the trip to DC. This museum should be the basis for the education of our kids from Grade school through high school. It tells the story of the founding of our great country on...  more »
  • I feel like I won the lottery and FINALLY got tickets. I encourage everyone to keep trying and check their website frequently. I truly enjoyed all the exhibits. So much history. A lot of reading...  more »
  • Finally, there is a museum that strives to tell the complete picture of African Americans in the United States. The story begins with the original sin of slavery, and continues through the first 80...  more »
  • This museum was incredible. There were so many exhibits that were set up well: we started at the top floor and worked our way down. The exhibits about music, film (showed clips of some famous shows, and sports were among our favorite. We also enjoyed learning how to step dance at one of the exhibits. We enjoyed the exhibit about war heroes who were posthumously awarded medals, as their race prevented them from receiving while alive. Overall, the entire experience took a bit over 2 hours to enjoy, though we could have easily spent another hour.
  • Being a black man I needed to come to this museum and I can tell you I was not disappointed in the slightest. From the outside admiring the building to each floor being jam packed with information, art, beauty, and overall heart and soul for the black experience it was a pleasure spending 2+ hours here. There is more to see than can be experienced in one trip and I would gladly come back time and time again. Bring yourself, your family, your friends, and everyone that you know. There is something for everyone to learn and appreciate here in the museum!
  • GREATEST EXPERIENCE EVER! The museum itself is a great idea! The exhibits inside are entirely another great idea! I’ve been to the museum three times and I’m sure i will continue to go back every time I’m in DC. Tickets are free - you just need to reserve a free one before you arrive. If you’re military personnel, you don’t need a ticket reservation, just bring your military ID. You need a good hour or two in order to take your time and see everything! Great history!
  • This wasn't on the top of my to do list when we visited DC, however we had some extra time on our last day and we ended up going. I have to say that after going, I couldn't believe the amazing experience we had there. This is probably the coolest museum I have ever been to. We started our experience by going down to the lowest level and wound our way up a mile and a half path back towards the main level. This first part of the museum contains a chronological history of African American history and culture. After that we found an amazing "rain" reflection fountain at the end of that part of the exhibit. Don't miss it. It is sorta hidden in the back corner of that part of the exhibit. After completing that section we worked our way up the escalator floor by floor. Each of these floors has different exhibits of areas like influential people in politics, music, religion, arts, theater, sports, TV, etc. They put together an amazing museum that I was amazed by in every aspect... from the exhibits themselves and the information they provided to the use of space, technology and building design all came together to make for the most amazing museum.. Another tip would be to peek out at all the views from each of the holes in the building shell.. you won't want to miss how they made the building architecture part of the museum.. probably some of the best views of DC. Don't miss out on this experience!
  • The design of this museum is phenomenal and the food was hands down the best I have had in a museum. As I walked through the space my heart became increasingly heavy with the reminders of what it has meant for me to be an American. Our country is a work in progress, but it is a testament to the heart and strength and vigor of it's people that we have made it this far. This museum is a necessary reminder and exhibition of the immense contribution of African Americans to what is American.

Plan your trip to Washington DC

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.