Plan Your Visit

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is now open to the public. As we gradually reopen the museum, we’re putting safety first with enhanced measures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors, volunteers and staff. Free timed-entry passes are required for entry.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is closed on Monday and Tuesday and open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except December 25. Visitors are able to enter the museum until 4:00 p.m.

Visitors can reserve timed-entry passes online.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • All visitors, regardless of age, must have a timed-entry pass to enter the museum.
  • A limited number of timed-entry passes are available. 
  • Visitors can reserve timed-entry passes up to 30 days in advance on a rolling basis. 
  • Advanced timed-entry passes are released daily beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST.  
  • Same-day timed-entry passes are released online only at 8:15 a.m. EST daily.
  • An individual can reserve up to six timed-entry passes for their visit. For groups with six to twelve individuals who plan to visit together, two separate reservations, using two separate email addresses are required. Groups larger than twelve are prohibited. Tour Operators must contact before reserving passes.
  • Timed-entry passes may not be sold or transferred and are for personal use only.
  • We are honored to welcome veterans, active-duty personnel and first responders to the museum. After showing their military or work ID badge, they may enter with one guest without reserving a free-timed entry pass. Entry begins by joining the general line and checking in at the triage tents located near the building entrances on 15th Street and Madison Drive, or 14th Street and Constitution Avenue.
    Please note: museum entry is subject to building capacity; weekends and holidays are peak visitation times. If the museum is at or near capacity, all visitors standing in line will be asked to wait until the museum has room to accommodate them. 

Additional Information

  • For the safety of our visitors and staff, groups larger than twelve are prohibited. 
  • All children (under the age of 18) must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. At least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children. 
  • Timed-entry passes are valid only for the issued date. Passes are void if altered. 
  • Visitors can print timed-entry passes at home or present them on a mobile device. All passes will be scanned prior to entering the museum on Madison Drive or Constitution Avenue, NW. 
  • If you cannot visit the museum on your scheduled date, please reserve new passes online and submit a Customer Support Form to cancel any passes that will not be used.

Schedule Your Visit

We ask that all visitors, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, follow these safety measures to protect everyone’s health. Visitors who do not adhere to safety policies and guidelines may be asked to leave.

If Sick, Stay Home  

We’re asking all visitors who are sick or feel unwell to please stay home. If you are at increased risk of severe illness, you may also want to consider staying home.  

Face Coverings

All visitors ages two and older are required to wear a face covering in all indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings may be removed while eating or drinking in designated spaces. Face coverings should fit properly, covering the nose, mouth and chin with no large gaps on the outside of the face (i.e., no bandanas), and they should have a minimum of two layers (i.e., not a single-ply gaiter). Face shields are not permitted as a substitute for a face covering but may be worn over a face covering or mask. Face coverings or masks with an exhalation valve are not permitted.

Social Distancing 

We encourage visitors to maintain a safe social distance of six feet or more between households or groups at all times. 

Number of Visitors

 We are using timed-entry passes and limiting the number of people to allow for safe social distancing.

Hand-sanitizing Stations

We’re providing hand-sanitizer stations for visitors throughout our facilities and conducting enhanced cleaning measures frequently.

Personal Belongings 

Please note that we do not offer coat, bag, or locker storage at this time. We encourage you to limit the number of personal belongings and bags you bring into our facilities as they will be subject to a thorough search. Limiting the items you bring will increase your speed through security checkpoints, helping us all maintain a safe social distance. We have installed protective safety shields at bag-check screening stations and registers. 

Please be aware that touring the History Galleries in their entirety will take approximately 2 hours, and will require about 1 mile of walking.

Our highest visitation is from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday through Sunday. During this timeframe, there may be long lines to access the History Galleries.

We encourage visitors to eat and hydrate before entering the History Galleries, especially if they have special healthcare needs. 

Some exhibitions, interactives, and indoor spaces may be closed or operate at limited capacity to ensure the safety of our visitors.

Galleries & Interactives

  • The Oprah Winfrey Theater and Corona Pavilion remain closed to visitors.
  • Larger objects such as the segregated Southern Railway Car and Edisto Island Slave Cabin remain closed to visitors.
  • Some exhibitions and interactives, including the Reflection Booths, Genealogy Database, Arc Interactive, São José Interactive, Green Book, Power of Place, and In the Studio, remain closed to visitors.
  • Some galleries that remain open are designed with narrow entrances and pathways, as well as low ceiling heights, in order to create an intimate and close experience. The museum requires visitors to follow one-directional flow in these areas and posts signage accordingly to allow for social distancing. 

Museum Maps 

Entering & Exiting the Museum

  • Please do not arrive before the entry time on your timed-entry pass.
  • Timed-entry passes will be scanned at the visitor entrances on Madison Drive and Constitution Avenue, NW.
  • Visitors with timed-entry passes will be able to enter the museum until 4:00 p.m.
  • For everyone’s safety, all visitors are required to pass through screening at the entrance to the museum. Please see a list of prohibited items in the museum before planning your visit.
  • Limiting the items you bring will increase your speed through security checkpoints, helping us all maintain a safe social distance. Please note that we do not allow visitors to enter with large bags or luggage and do not offer coat, bag, or locker storage at this time. 
  • Visitors are required to use the exit located on Constitution Avenue, NW when leaving the museum.

Dining & Shopping

The museum store is open Wednesday-Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hand sanitizer stations are available for use upon entry and exit of the museum store. The Sweet Home Café is open Wednesday-Sunday, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a limited menu. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Review our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about planning your visit and what to expect when you arrive at the museum.


Tours & Programs

All on-site public tours and programs are currently suspended. The museum will continue to offer virtual programs and experiences. Please check our upcoming events for specific dates and details. 


Download Our Mobile App

Connect to our free WiFi network, "SI-Visitor" and download our mobile app as a complement to your museum visit and as a way to more easily discover the many additional stories in our collection.  


COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that is believed to mainly spread from person-to-person contact. The Smithsonian is doing its part to mitigate transmission intensity, and we ask you, our visitors, to do the same and help us reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Despite, our best efforts, the risk of contracting COVID-19 could increase by visiting the Smithsonian. By visiting the Smithsonian, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.   

The Smithsonian reserves the right to modify its hours of operations, capacity, or visitor guidelines as circumstances require and to deny entry or access to any person who fails to follow these guidelines or whose conduct puts Smithsonian staff, visitors, or property at risk.