The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian holds one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts and art from the native peoples of the Western hemisphere. From the Arctic Circle to the southernmost tip of South America, the Museum of the American Indian represents native cultures honestly and mindfully as a devoted conduit to the public.
While the museum continues to actively focus on acquiring contemporary art and cultural items used today, they still receive donations for their ethnographic collections. Contemporary art is continuously collected in the mission to preserve social identities and encourage public interest in the culture of native peoples. Over 825,000 items representing 12,000 years and roughly 1,200 cultures are present from the ancient Paleo-Indians to modern art. The National Museum of the American Indian collects works designed, created, or used by American Indians both past and present. Ethnographic and archaeological collections include beadwork, jewelry, moccasins from various tribes, baskets, jars, musical instruments, and ceremonial masks among others.
Exhibits are continuously updated and rotated to give the public the best and most diverse interaction with the history of native tribes. Exhibitions include a commemoration of the war in 1862 between the Dakotas and the United States, a feature on treaties struck between the U.S. and American Indian nations, and the Contemporary Life and Identities of Native Americans.
Two theaters are used within the museum for stage plays, musical concerts, performances, lectures and program series for interactive multi-sensory learning experiences. Children’s workshops, regular events, and more are offered for interested groups. Guided tours are available five times a week between 2:00-2:45 pm. The museum is open daily from 10:00-5:30 pm.