Back in August I requested tickets to the newest Smithsonian museum on the mall, The National Museum of African American History. The earliest I could get passes for was in October. I didn’t realize (or maybe I did but I didn’t really give it much thought) that it would be Columbus Day weekend, a holiday. My intention was to go to the grand opening of the museum, but my schedule didn’t permit me to do so. I knew that if I didn’t go this weekend that I would miss my chance until next year.
I spent about three hours exploring the two top levels of the museum. The building ws packed to the gills. You didn’t have run to turn around it was that crowded. I would have loved to see a whole room dedicated to people like Madam C.J. Walker and Oprah Winfrey. Below are some tips if you are planning to visit the museum for the first time.
- You can get same day tickets, but there is a long line that you must wait in so you should opt to go early in the day.
- If you have tickets with a designated time you can go anytime AFTER your reservation, but you will have to wait in a shorter line until your designated time if you arrive early. DO NOT wait in the first line that you see because that line is for the non-ticket holders. Walk to the back side of the museum to wait in THAT line. It moves relatively fast.
- The slavery exhibit has yet another line, as did the gift shop. Plan accordingly. The exhibits go from bottom to top – so slavery is in the basement (as well as the restaurant – the food was bland!) and the other exhibits are on the 3rd and 4th floor. The 2nd floor is a good place to just sit or to meet up with your group if you get separated.
- If you don’t want to eat in the restaurant (entrees range from $12-15 on average) there are a plethora of food trucks parked along the avenue in front of the museum.
- Should you decide to drive, you should download the ParkMobile app so you can replenish your parking meter on your phone.
- Finally, you might consider leaving the younger children home. They don’t yet understand the significance and it really isn’t a kid-friendly type of museum. They have some computer interactive exhibits, but not enough to keep little kids engaged.
- Finally, I recommend going during the week and avoid going on a holiday. The space is very tight.