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.
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.
Limited bagged lunch seating is available in the Second Floor Café next to the Garden Lounge. Bagged lunches must be stowed away at all times while visiting the museum and must only be eaten in the Second Floor Café. The museum has no refrigerated storage for lunches. Please call the NMNH Groups hotline at 202-633-7515 for questions about group dining.
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.
The museum provides free Wi-Fi access; choose the "si-visitor" network on your device. No password necessary. This is a public, unsecured network.
Smoking is prohibited in all Smithsonian facilities. This includes e-cigarettes.
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