The United States is a melting pot of cultures from all four corners of the world with a vibrant history of heroism and patriotism. The Smithsonian Insitute is the world’s largest museum and research complex. It hosts a network of 19 museums most of which in Washington D.C. For you, here are 10 of the best American National Museums.
National Museum Of The American Indian
One of the world’s most expansive collections of Native objects, Native artifacts, archives, photographs, and media is the National Museum of the American Indian. This wonderful American National Museum is located in the heart of Washington DC. It is an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institute; sprawling with rounded architecture, native landscaping, and exhibitions designed in association with the tribes and communities.
The museum was built for the purpose of bringing Native voices to lives serving as a resource for the western hemisphere’s Native communities; to give an honest and thoughtful understanding of Native American culture to the general public. Also, included is an interactive ImagiNATIONS Activity Center. It welcomes families and children with hands-on Native American theme-based activities. Open 8 AM to 5:30 PM at Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, DC 20560. This museum also offers free admission.
The Japanese American National Museum
Located in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles is the Japanese American National Museum. The largest museum dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Japanese Americans, its mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic diversity express. Also, a Long term exhibition is named Common Ground: the Heart of Community. It details Japanese American history from early immigration to the United States until the present. It showcases hundreds of documents, objects, and photographs.
Also, Fighting for Democracy is another amazing current exhibition. It features the stories of seven people throughout prewar, WWII, and post-war periods. It also shows an example of the millions of Americans whose lives were affected by the war. Additionally, guided tours for children are available; origami exhibits where kids learn about the history and craft by making their own origami.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
One of the most impressive national museums preserving American culture is the National Museum of American History. It includes a massive collection of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history. Additionally, it has more than 3 million artifacts from the War of Independence to the present day. A current ongoing exhibit is the 75th anniversary of D-Day presenting objects from American WWII. These collections also allow you to view displays of relics; identification tags, canteens, used .50-caliber machine gun casings, and other memorabilia from the beaches of Normandy.
Another exhibit examines the role of American women throughout history explaining the hardships they encountered with limited rights. Numerous events are held at the museum with the special exhibit named ‘Evenings at American History’. This normally includes food and drink offering special free conversations with iconic guests and historians. The museum is open every day except December 25 and admission is free.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural American National Museums dedicated exclusively to expressing African American story is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. A ceremony led by President Barack Obama in 2016 marked the grand opening of the newest Smithsonian Museum. The museum also promotes the decades of contributions and efforts made by African Americans; 37,000 objects and over 170,000 individuals who have become charter members. The diverse set of exhibits also include American West, Civil Rights, Education, LGBTQ, Literature, Politics, Religious Groups, Slavery, Segregation and more.
Additionally, a musical crossroads exhibit displays the creativity generated by African Americans with blues, folk, jazz, classical, and hip-hop. These act as a soundtrack to stories of the African American culture and community. Another exhibit expresses how the role African American churches played into the culture. It has provided spiritual and practical support for civil rights activists. The museum is free of charge. However, advanced timed entry passes are required during peak season March through August.
Arab American National Museum
The first American National Museum in the world dedicated to Arab American History and culture is the Arab American National Museum. It was built to express the Arab American story though a timeline of exhibits while dismissing fallacies about Arab Americans. Inside the museum, you’ll find three permanent exhibits; Coming to America, Living in America, and Making an Impact.
The first floor is filled with contributions of the Arab civilization from medicine to architecture to decorative arts. On the second floor, you will see galleries on prominent Arab influencers such as Ralph Nader and Helen Thomas. Also displayed here are historic pieces and documents related to the history of Arab American immigration. This includes video and audio recordings depicting the stories of the immigrants.
American National Museums also features many different events; from culinary walking tours to English Arabic storytime for children offering educational experiences for all ages.
911 Memorial Museum
Located at the site of the devastating September 11 World Trade Center attack killing nearly 3000 people is the 911 Memorial & Museum. The former location of the Twin Towers has been constructed into beautiful fountains; both an acre in size lined with engravings of the lives lost in the event. These fountains are also the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. Additionally, the fountains act as a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life on American soil; from a foreign attack and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel.
Additionally, one of the featured exhibits is the Survivor Tree; a pear tree recovered from the rubble at the World Trade Center site. The tree stands 8 feet tall when recovered and was badly burned; having only one living branch. The 9/11 memorial is free and open to the public daily. American National Museum tickets are also available for advance purchases with last entry at 6 PM.
National Gallery of Art
Located on the National Mall in Washington DC is the National Gallery of Art. It offers a collection of over 141,000 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and forms of new media. These exhibits date back to the Middle Ages. The museum also regularly features temporary exhibits highlighting distinctive artists with various talents. The gallery’s East Building also has two sky-lit tower galleries with roof terraces. Here, you can see more than 500 works of art. This includes art from Barbara Kruger, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko.
Connecting the buildings is Leo Villareal’s incredible Multiverse installation. Over 41,000 LED nodes light up space as you walk from one building to the other through the underground concourse. The West Building is beautifully designed; organized with artwork by period and national origin in comprehensive galleries. The Sculpture Galleries also offer more than 900 pieces in the permanent collection.
National Air and Space Museum
The fifth most visited museum in the world is the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. It brings in over eight million visitors a year. The museum houses dozens of space and aircraft and contains the original Apollo 11 command module. It also has the original spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong. The Udvar-Hazy Center consists of two hangers being the Boeing Aviation Hanger and the James McDonnell Space Hanger.
Additionally, in this museum, you can see a few noteworthy spaceships. This includes the Lockheed Sr-71 Blackbird as well as the Friendship 7 capsule flown by John Glenn. The Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hanger is where scientists and engineers work to repair artifacts from the collection. Inside the hangers, you’ll get a chance to see the Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh, the Bell X-1, and the Wright brother’s airplane. The museum also features the model of the starship Enterprise; used in the original Star Trek Series.
The National WWII Museum
Also known as the National D-Day Museum is the historical American National Museum located in the central business district of New Orleans, LA. The museum focuses on the contributions from the United States and its allies in World War II. The entire space covers a six-acre campus with Brave sky-high catwalks giving an up-close look at iconic WWII airplanes. Founded in 2000, it is designated as America’s official WWII Museum. The museum includes five soaring pavilions with historical exhibits, on-site restoration work, and a period dinner theater with restaurants.
Each pavilion is also arranged around central themes of the war. It offers opportunities to experience the war through the eyes of the soldiers who survived. The newest exhibit has recordings of survivors telling the story of how the war was won. Arsenal of Democracy. Additionally, he exhibit also includes galleries that explore the road to war. It showcases the epic undertaking fueled by the stateside industry and millions of patriotic Americans.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The official memorial of the Holocaust is adjacent to the National Mall in Washington D.C. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provides documentation and interpretation of Holocaust history. It’s also dedicated to helping leaders and citizens confront hatred. It promotes human dignity, and prevent further genocide. Covering three floors is the self-guided Permanent Exhibition which presents a narrative history of the Holocaust. This exhibit also includes over 12,750 historical artifacts, 85,000 photographs, and 49 million pages of documents. It also has a list of 200,000 registered survivors and their families, 1000 hours of historic footage, and more than 93,000 library items. There are also more than 9,000 eyewitness testimonies which highlight the stories from people who survived.