Inauguration Activities Impact on Visiting the Museum

Information for Our Visitors on January 19, 20, and 21

As you plan to make your way to the nation’s capital during inauguration weekend, the National Museum of African American History and Culture wants to make sure you make the most out of your visit by answering a few commonly asked questions regarding how celebration activities might impact your visit to the museum on Thursday, January 19th; Friday, January 20th; and Saturday, January 21st, 2017.

Where is the National Museum of African American History and Culture in relation to the swearing-in ceremony and the Inaugural Parade route?

The Inauguration will take place on the National Mall, where the National Museum of African American History and Culture is located.  The parade will proceed down 15 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and the White House. In the past, public entrances to the parade route opened at 6:30 a.m., and the parade itself began at 2:30 p.m.  The typical duration of the parade is about two hours.  Check out a map of the route.

What’s the best way to get around the city during inauguration weekend?

Many streets around the Mall will be closed to vehicular traffic. Instead of driving, try traveling like a local Washingtonian and walk or use Metro rail or bus.  The Metro will operate with extended hours on Inauguration Day, opening at 4 a.m. with near rush-hour service levels on all lines until 9 p.m.   Please check Metro status updates before you head down to the museum.

If you are using a ride sharing app such as Uber or Lyft, there will be an extensive security perimeter. The Uber and Lyft apps will not work inside the security perimeter.  Attendees using these services will have to leave the perimeter to schedule a ride and get picked up.  Note: There will be significant road closures, and by 12 noon on Thursday, January 19th, vehicular movement will be restricted.  

How do I get to the museum?

NMAAHC Timed Pass Holders should be prepared to wait in line to go through a security checkpoint located at 15th Street, NW on Constitution Avenue. Visitors to the museum should plan to exit at Metro Center.  All other nearby stations will be closed.  Visit WMATA for updates on Metro status and directions to the mall from Metro.   

Can I visit the museum on Thursday, January 19th or Friday January 20th if I do not have a timed pass?

Due to the high security and limited access to the museum on January 19th and on Inauguration Day, January 20th, the museum will not be offering same-day or walk-up passes on those days. Only visitors who already have timed passes for January 19th or 20th will be allowed into the museum. A pass is always required to visit the museum.

What about the crowds and wait times for entering the museum?

As you might expect, large crowds will be on and around the National Mall area.  An extensive security perimeter will impact your travel in the Washington, DC area.  In preparation for, during and after the Inauguration, road closures and activities will restrain travel to and from the museum.  Extra consideration should be taken when planning to bring infants, young children, the elderly, or anyone with a weakened immune system.  Reunification tents are available around the National Mall to assist attendees with people locater services. 

What can I expect in terms of weather?

Inauguration day is typically cold, normally 37°F at noon and occasionally wet, but in general winter weather in the Washington, D.C. varies.  We recommend checking the local weather forecast from the National Weather Service on the day of your visit for good measure.

Are there things I should not bring with me when visiting the museum that weekend? 

On Inauguration Day, January 20th, security will be high to protect and accommodate large crowds and the Inaugural Parade. There will be bag checks and screenings conducted at access points to the National Mall.  Visitors may be required to show their NMAAHC Timed Pass at security check points and also go through security at the museum. Expect long lines at security checkpoints. Here is a full list of items prohibited by the US Secret Service at public events that weekend. 

Our Frequently Asked Questions page has more information on visiting the museum.

Please know, the safety, security and comfort of our visitors are our highest priority.  If you would like to change the date of your visit, please contact ETIX to request another date at

Everyone at the National Museum of African American History and Culture looks forward to welcoming you for your visit.