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National Museum of American History
Open today: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
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Reviews (4,581)
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Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

Museum has a lot of cool pop culture and iconic things on display. Museum was very crowded which did make it hard to maneuver through exhibits. Overall a great experience and a must see while visiting DC!

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank 654staceyv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

We were most looking forward to this Smithsonian and it was such a let down! Boring! No Elvis car no ruby slippers that while part of the exhibit was closed. Why would they do that during tourist season? Such a let down! Only highlight was the original Star Spangled Banner.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank ILoveAGoodRoadTrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

Spring Break was probably not the best time to visit because the place was packed making it hard to get close enough to study the artifacts.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Gunn O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

The thing about this museum is that it is more like a collection of memorabilia from American history than a history lesson. This was quite different to what we had expected. We were expecting to learn more about American history and the forces that shaped America over time but it’s not that sort of museum.
It is more like a collection of interesting historical keepsakes and pop culture – albeit a very, very big collection by an obsessive memorabilia hunter. There are over 3 million objects.
It was also a little confusing to navigate. We had chosen a number of ‘highlights’ that we wanted to see but it wasn't that easy. It was difficult to pin down where a particular item was which meant that we couldn't really make a beeline to it. Even a map of the floorplan still didn't help much.
The museum was laid out in a thematic way which is great if you have the luxury of time to wander and explore. If like us, you are short on time and have planned to drop in and see a few highlighted items, then it is not so easy.
In the end, we gave up on our ‘checklist’ of things to see and spent most of our time in the section called ‘American Presidency: A Glorious Burden’, which we enjoyed. There were lots of interesting and sometimes quirky things to see, such as a teddy bear made from the hair of several Presidents, including George Washington. There was the top hat Lincoln wore when shot, Washington’s bedside easy chair, a dolls house made by the White House gardener for Grover Cleveland’s children, not to mention the First Ladies gowns. Sadly, the museum was closing just as we got to the gowns so we missed them (husband and son didn't seem to register this as a tragedy, but I was disappointed).
In summary, if you only have time for a few of the Smithsonian museums and have to pick and choose between them, there are probably other more significant ones to see. However, this one was fun and would be best seen if you have the time to browse through it.
The 'must-see' item is the original (and surprisingly big) Star-Spangled Banner.
Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz were not on display while we were there (the 80+ years old shoes have been removed for conservation and repair).
Entry is free and there is security screening at the door, with bag checks.

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank Mairwen1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018

Starting with the Star Spangled Banner there are countless exhibits from the country's origins up through present times. It was a busy, noisy museum full of kids but that's the point. Hopefully people are learning and appreciating our unique country. Not to be missed!

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Craig D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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