National Museum of American History, Washington DC

(4.1/5 based on 3,400+ 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.
Create a full Washington DC itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Washington DC

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. 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.

Plans in Washington DC by other users

4 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: May, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: May, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: May, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 15 days in East Coast of USA & Philadelphia BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, teens, culture, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 15 days in East Coast of USA BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, teens, culture, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM CANADA February, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM CANADA February, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • if you have been here in the past 5 yrs don't bother coming back until late next year. Nearly half the building is closed off for new exhibits that won't open until then. 
  • I didn't have enough time to see all the museum. I focused on the second world war section. I was very well welcomed and a nice lady answered my questions about other places to see. I wish there were ...  more »
  • Very interesting. See Dorothy Gales ruby slipper (wiz of oz); commercials advertising cigarettes, corny ads that did not seem corny when first shown. Go back into time. Its free, so you can spend 30 m...  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.