When to Visit
Are You Looking for:
- A quieter museum experience? Visit between Monday and Wednesday, or any weekday during September and February.
- A busier museum experience? Visit most Saturdays throughout the year.
- A crowded museum experience? Visit anytime from mid-March through late-July.
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.
Prepare for Security
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.
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.
Check 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.
No accommodations are available for eating bag lunches within the museum. The cafeteria on the second floor and Café Natural on the ground floor are open to groups and individuals who purchase their lunch at the museum. Bag lunches should be eaten outside the museum on the National Mall.
Pets (except service animals) are not permitted in the museum. Emotional support animals are not permitted in the museum.
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.
Smoking is prohibited in all Smithsonian facilities. This includes e-cigarettes.
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