National Museum of American History, Washington DC

4.1
#6 of 46 in Museums in Washington DC
History Museum Museum
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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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Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
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  • I really did not think I would like this museum because I am not a history lover, but there are some key exhibits that you should not miss. Of course you must see the Star Spangled Banner-so moving! I...  more »
  • I was really looking forward to visiting this museum as I had heard they had lots of interesting items on display. I enjoyed the exhibit on the presidency and thought the exhibit about people of Japan...  more »
  • Make sure to go here while in DC. This museum is a must when traveling to the area. Make sure to go to this Smithsonian museum before going to the others. It is the best one. There is also a good rest...  more »
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  • Museum was GREAT, Cafe was TERRIBLE. Way overpriced. However, entrance to museum was free. Enjoy museum, Eat somewhere else. Pulled pork sandwich tasted like lighter fluid and macaroni & cheese tasted like soggy noodles with water. 2 ADULTS, 5 KIDS = $145 lunch
  • This was one of the highlights of our recent trip to D.C. There is so much to see that we will definitely go back and see it again when we return. When asking our 3 girls ages 10, 14 and 17 what they liked most about our trip this was at the top of the list for all of them. Highly recommended. And yes, there will be crowds, but it's worth it.
  • I take my kids here regularly and we always find something new and interesting to look at. You could spend days in here! As with all Smithsonians, buying food here is not a great idea as it will be over-priced for the quality. Your best bet for getting decent food is to get a meal from a food truck or leave the National Mall altogether. I tend to stay away from here during tourist seasons and at peak hours but if those are your only options try to take as little as possible with you inside as they search every bag before entry; you get in faster without bags. Even when crowded the museum is worth it. It has exhibits every age can enjoy.
  • I've lived in DC for over 20 years but today was my first visit to the National Museum of American History. The exhibits and execution exuded the very high quality and professionalism that is typical of the Smithsonian. It ranks up there with many amazing museums all over the world (Europe, South America, Africa, Middle East). I highly recommend visiting and I will certainly return. I missed out on it for 20 years and now regret not being aware of this treasure.
  • I loved how the museum was set up. The exhibits were very detailed and I had a great time. This could easily have been an all-day event there was so much to see. When we were there there was two lines, one for people with bags and one for people without. I think there was a small cafeteria and there are three gift shops.