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 April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Weehawken & Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, teens, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in New York City & Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 56 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 49 days in Washington DC & Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, kids, culture, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, kids, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, relaxing, romantic, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, relaxing, romantic, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Washington DC & Richmond BY A USER FROM CANADA March, teens, beaches, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, teens, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Richmond & Washington DC BY A USER FROM CANADA March, teens, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, teens, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in United States BY A USER FROM GERMANY May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Lots of history, amazing exhibits. Great for the kids and adults alike, there's a little bit of everything for everyone whether you're a history buff or not. I think my favorite part of the museum was...  more »
  • In addition to the American wars exhibit, which my husband enjoyed, I enjoyed the Americana, including the lunch counter from the Birmingham sit in. There was plenty to see, but skip the cafeteria; it...  more »
  • I spent a happy hour roving at random in this huge museum. They had a colonial home that had been moved from Massachusetts on display. You could see the construction techniques and read about the diff...  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.