The National Museum of Natural History is committed to providing inclusive experiences for all audiences. Please contact 202-633-5238 or email NMNHAccessibility@si.edu for access services.
Both entrances to the museum are now accessible. Enter from the Constitution Avenue side of the building or the National Mall side. A new elevated walkway is open on the south side, or National Mall side, of the building.
The Smithsonian does not provide parking, but there are designated accessible spaces around the National Mall.
You can view and print a map with accessible entrances, curb cuts, designated parking, and more for Smithsonian facilities on the National Mall. Standard and large print copies are also available at the Visitor Information Desks.
The closest Metro to the accessible entrance on Constitution Avenue is the Federal Triangle Metro station, which is located on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. The closest metro along the Green and Yellow line is Archives/Navy Memorial. The closest Red line station is Metro Center. View a map of the closest Metro stations.
For the most up-to-date information on the Metrorail system and possible elevator outages, please visit Metro's Accessibility Web Page.
Service animals specially trained to assist a person with a disability are welcome in all Museum exhibits and venues.
Information for Visitors in a Wheelchair
- All of the Museum's exhibitions (including the Butterfly Pavilion) are accessible by wheelchair, and all public floors of the Museum can be reached by elevator.
- All theaters include wheelchair locations and companion seats.
- All food service areas are accessible by wheelchair with no steps, turnstiles, or other potential obstructions
- All Museum restrooms are accessible to those with mobility disabilities or in wheelchairs. Family/companion care restrooms are located on the First Floor off the Rotunda via the Sant Ocean Hall.
The National Museum of Natural History has courtesy wheelchairs that may be borrowed on a first-come, first-served basis free of charge for use within the building. The wheelchairs, which are all manually operated, may not be taken outside of the Museum. They are located on the ground floor (Constitution Avenue entrance) under the ascending elevator by the Visitor Information Desk.
Information for Visitors Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Video presentations within exhibitions are open captioned.
- Induction loops are installed at the Rotunda Visitor Information Desk and the Worldwide Theater in the Hall of Human Origins.
- Assisted Listening Devices are available upon request for programs in Baird Auditorium and Q?rius Theater.
- Sign language interpretation or real-time captioning (CART) are available for public programs with a two week advanced notice. To request this service, please call (202) 633-5238 or e-mail NMNHAccessibility@si.edu.
Information for Visitors Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted
- Large print floor plans are available at the Visitor Information Desks on the ground floor and first floor of the Museum.
- Tactile objects are provided for all visitors at designated points throughout the Museum. A full list of tactile objects can be found at the Information Desks in large print and braille.
- Verbally-described tours with tactile elements designed for visitors with visual disabilities are available with a two-week advanced notice. Subject to volunteer availability. To request this service, please call (202) 633-5238 or e-mail NMNHAccessibility@si.edu.
- The Deep Time Audio Description App uses the accessibility features native to a visitor’s phone to explore the new Fossil Hall through a self-guided tour. Visitors are able to discover how all life is connected – past, present, and future – to all other life and to the Earth itself. Learn more about evolution, ecosystems, and extinction from the beginning of life 3.7 billion years ago to the Age of Humans today. Much of the Fossil Hall exhibition has been summarized into a manageable size and integrated with visual descriptions of key content, videos, touchscreen interactives, and iconic specimens. The app features in-depth descriptions of the 29 tactile opportunities within the gallery. The app also provides images with alt text and captions, a Frequently Asked Questions section, and a search function. Visitors are invited to download the app ahead of time to plan your visit, follow along in the gallery, or read afterwards using the following links :
- Aira Access - The museum is a location for the Aira Access mobile information and verbal description service. Visitors can download the free Aira app on a smartphone, connect to the museum’s free Wi-Fi, and use the app to speak to an Aira agent using minutes provided courtesy of the Smithsonian. Visit Aira Access for more information, or download and read this Aira guide (PDF).
- Volunteer-led interactive cart programs with tactile elements take place in select exhibit hall and are subject to volunteer availability.
Please see the details for each venue for further information about hours and reservations.
- Q?rius – Created for teens, tweens, and their families and teachers, Q?rius is an interactive learning space where visitors can use microscopes, handle almost 6,000 collection objects, solve science puzzles, and meet science experts.
- Q?rius jr. – Now located in Q?rius, the Q?rius jr. area is an interactive space especially for children ages 10 and younger which features real Museum objects and artifacts. Visitors of all ages can touch fossils, skulls, shells, minerals and much more!
- O. Orkin Insect Zoo – O. Orkin Insect Zoo is a special exhibit hall on the Second Floor of the Museum where volunteers conduct tarantula feeding demonstrations, work with live insects that visitors may touch and answer questions about the many-legged creatures that live in the O. Orkin Insect Zoo.
Information for Visitors with Developmental, Learning & Sensory Disabilities
For a quieter experience, visit the museum between Monday and Wednesday, or any weekday during September or February. Specific days may vary, given holidays or special events at the museum or on the National Mall.
This calendar of events highlights some of the programs and activities that will be happening at the museum.
This comprehensive presentation allows visitors using a desktop computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) or a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android) to take a virtual, self-guided tour. Visitors can experience the museum in a unique, room-by-room view of select exhibit and as well as select research and collections areas at our satellite support and research stations.