National Museum of American History, Washington DC

(4.1/5 based on 3,600+ reviews on the web)
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History tells the story of America's socio-political, cultural, and military history from the American Revolution to present day. As you tour, the three extensive floors of exhibits, don't miss its most famous artifact: the original flag that flew during the War of 1812 and inspired the "Star Spangled Banner" poem. The museum stores thousands of archival records, papers, photographs, and recordings. If you're a fervent museum-goer, be aware that the complex is very extensive when toured in its entirety, so plan accordingly. Check the museum's online schedule for information on lectures, activities, and traveling exhibits. Use our Washington DC trip builder to visit National Museum of American History on your trip to Washington DC, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • There is never enough time to see everything in these amazing museums. I am not a fan of the security lines, but it is worth the wait to see the Ruby Slippers and other iconic items from America. YES....  more »
  • Some excellent items in this museum including the original Stars & Stripes, the automotive/transportation exhibit, the inaugural dresses of first ladies. Not to be missed.  more »
  • This is one of the museums on the National Mall and because it is part of the Smithsonian, it is free. On weekends and during the summer, schedule time for security because lines can get long but they...  more »
Google
  • Such a great museum for all ages and a must see when in DC. IMO the two best exhibits are the "price of freedom" (military) and the "star spangled banner" (the real one). Both are absolutely amazing and have artifacts that you've never seen. They have a nice cafe downstairs with options for the whole family. After eating first, it took us about 4 hours to get through (skimmed the First Ladies area)--make sure you plan your day accordingly or you may miss out on all the other amazing things to see.
  • A fun trip into US history. From cars to electricity and industry and more. I find it easy to lose a few hours visiting. To be fair I tend to enjoy just about any visit I've made to a Smithsonian location.
  • This is what I expect a museum to look like. Large rooms. I saw Dorothy's Wizard of Oz slippers, and the president's women's dresses, and China that room was really cool. I enjoyed this Museum, however the best museum I have seen to date here, is the Apothecary Museum in Alexandria
  • I'm only able to give an average rating to the museum for this review, but I will say that the last time I was here the museum had more exhibits open. However, I will say that the two nearly empty floors will have some great exhibits, but they are currently not available so my visit wasn't a bit of a let down. I liked the "enterprising America" section with the history of capitalism, advertising, and invention. It was neat seeing how things have progressed over the years.
  • Perhaps my favorite museum. World class displays kept fresh and updated, historical artifacts and genuine articles that without cliché bring history to life. A fine American institution and worthy expenditure of tax dollars. Pro-tip: if you can avoid bringing a bag you will not have to wait in the formidable lines of school children going through security.