Museum News

Smithsonian Extends Hours and Offers Additional Free Timed-Entry Passes To Visit the New National Museum of African American History and Culture

September 2, 2016

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will extend public hours during its grand-opening weekend. The museum will now be open to the public for additional hours over the weekend, Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.–8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 25, 7 a.m.–midnight. The dedication of the museum will take place Saturday, Sept. 24, on the National Mall.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 9 a.m. EDT, additional timed passes for entry Sept. 24 through the end of December will be available online or by calling ETIX Customer Support Center. Visit our timed passes page for full details on obtaining a timed entry pass. 

Museum hours will also be extended 10 a.m.–7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 26–Friday, Sept. 30. On Saturday, Oct. 1, the museum will be open 10 a.m.–midnight and Sunday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 

Due to the high level of interest in visiting the museum, more than 80,000 additional free timed passes will be made available through Sunday, Oct. 2, in order to serve as many visitors as possible while maintaining a smooth flow of people into the museum.

“We are humbled and honored by the outpouring of visitor interest in celebrating the museum’s grand opening with us,” said Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the museum. “As a result of this unprecedented interest, we are making more passes available so that as many people as possible can experience the museum in person during this historic moment and for years to come.”

Timed passes are required for entrance into the museum and will continue indefinitely. There will be no limit on the amount of time visitors spend inside the museum.


Free timed passes for visitors will be available online. There is a limit of six free timed passes per order.


Up to six free timed passes obtained through the Customer Support Center will be emailed or mailed in advance. Contact ETIX Customer Support Center. Hours of operation: Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. EDT. 

Nonprofit Groups

School, student, religious and community-based organizations with groups of 10 or more may obtain free advance timed passes by phone. Contact ETIX Customer Support Center.

Same-day Passes in Person

Beginning Monday, Sept. 26, four free timed passes per visitor can be obtained in person at the museum on the same day of the visit. There will be no same-day walk-up passes available Sept. 24 or Sept. 25. Passes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis by the museum’s Visitor Services staff beginning at 9:15 a.m. daily.

Dedication Weekend Activities

Large crowds are expected for the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Saturday, Sept. 24, and for the “Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration,” a free three-day music festival Friday, Sept. 23, through Sunday, Sept. 25. The public is invited to watch the ceremony from the grounds of the Washington Monument and on Jumbotrons around the site.

Security screenings will occur at entrances to viewing areas on the Washington Monument grounds for the dedication ceremony and the “Freedom Sounds” festival. Security screenings are also required for all visitors entering the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Visitors can gain entry to the site only at access points at 17th Street N.W. and Constitution Avenue N.W. or at 17th Street S.W. and Independence Avenue S.W.

# # #

Media Contact(s): 

Abby Benson (202) 633-9495; 
Lindsey Koren (202) 633-4052;
Linda St.Thomas (202) 633-5188;

Join Our Media List

Help us keep you informed of Museum news, special events, and upcoming public programs. 


Sign Up

Press Kit

Our press kit includes facts and descriptions of our building, inaugural exhibitions, collection, history, and leadership.


Download Kit

About The Museum

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.