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We are committed to visitor safety and have security measures in place to keep you and Museum objects protected. When you arrive at the Museum you can expect a full security screening similar to what you might experience at the airport, except you can keep your shoes and belts on.

You’ll be greeted upon entry by one of our security personnel who will conduct a thorough but speedy hand-check of all bags, briefcases, purses, strollers, and containers. All visitors are required to walk through a metal detector. Those who are unable to go through the metal detector will be hand-screened with an electronic wand by security personnel.

Please note there may be a line to enter the Museum on busy days. There are two entrances at the Museum - Constitution Avenue (north side) and the National Mall (south side). Depending on visitation, you may find that one entrance has a shorter line, so be sure to check both entrances.

Help speed your entry into the Museum by having your bags open and ready for inspection, and empty your pockets before going through the screening station.

The following items are not permitted in the Museum:

  • Tripods
  • Monopods
  • Selfie sticks
  • Firearms
  • Knives (including pen, pocket or "Swiss Army"-style knives)
  • Aerosol cans (including pepper spray and Mace)
  • Scissors
  • Tools (screwdrivers, awls, etc.)
  • Placards, signs, or banners
  • Pets (except service animals)
  • Wagons (collapsible and fixed wheel)

The following items are permitted in the Museum:

  • Strollers
  • Cameras
  • Mobility aids (canes, walkers, etc.) NOTE: A limited number of wheelchairs are available on first-come, first-served basis.
  • Service animals
  • Bottled water

See the Smithsonian's security policy for the most up-to-date information.

The Security Office is located on the Ground Floor in the North (Constitution Avenue) Lobby next to the elevators.


Photography: The Smithsonian permits still and video photography for noncommercial use only in its museums and exhibitions, unless otherwise posted. For the safety of our visitors and collections, the use of tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks is not permitted at any time. Working members of the media who need to use a tripod or monopod must obtain permission from the museum’s Press Office and must be escorted by a Museum staff member while in the building.

Notice: Visitors may be filmed, photographed, or recorded by the Smithsonian for educational and promotional uses, including for posting on the Smithsonian’s and other public websites.

Bag lunches: No accommodations are available for eating bag lunches within the Museum. The Atrium Café is open to groups and individuals who purchase their lunch at the Museum. If your students bring their own lunches, they are welcome to eat outside the Museum on the National Mall.

Chaperones: To guarantee the best learning experience in Q?rius and Q?rius Jr. spaces, we require 1 chaperone for every 10 students in grades 6-8 and 1 chaperone for every 15 students in grades 9-12. For general museum visits, 1 chaperone for every 5 students is optimal for grades Pre-K – 3.

Strollers: Strollers are permitted in the Museum.

Pets: Pets (except service animals) are not permitted in the Museum.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in all Smithsonian facilities.

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