This story has been updated.
Since opening on Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has generated demand for tickets the likes of which are usually reserved for hit plays, popular concerts, or major sporting events.
Millions have already visited the NMAAHC. In just 2019 so far, about 517,198 people have flocked to the Smithsonian Institution museum, which houses close to 37,000 rare artifacts within three stories.
NMAAHC timed-entry passes are released the first Wednesday of each month.
These include historical items such as Nat Turner's Bible and a shawl worn by Harriett Tubman, as well as documents, photography and other materials.
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The NMAAHC also celebrates popular culture with items such parts of the "Oprah" set, but it also contains some items – such photographs of lynchings - that show the violence that has been directed toward African Americans. These items are located within red lines to advise viewers of their content.
Not only is demand for tickets high, visitors tend to spend a lot of time in the museum once they get in. The museum's associate director told NPR.com that while most venues have a "dwell" time of an hour and 45 minutes to two hours, visitors are spending up to six hours exploring. It's already an important part of many people's list of things to do in Washington, D.C.
Open 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 364 days of the year. Closed on Dec. 25.
How you can visit the museum
Starting in January, the museum began requiring timed-entry passes for certain peak times and seasons, when visitation is highest. But during off-peak weekday times, visitors don’t need a pass to enter. Check hmaahc.si.edu to determine whether you need a timed-entry pass.
Visitors can obtain their timed-entry passes up to three months in advance. The passes are issued the first Wednesday of every month.
Free NMAAHC timed passes – each of which has unique code and can only be used once - are available online through ETIX. Officials caution visitors that passes that aren't obtained by walking up to the museum or online via ETIX for the African American museum may be counterfeit.
You won't be admitted prior to the time on your pass, but if you're late getting to the museum and miss the time on the pass, you can go later that same day. If the NMAAHC is already at capacity, you'll have to wait until room is available.
There are four types of timed entry passes:
You can look online daily beginning at 6 a.m. and claim up to four passes for the same day. They're available until they run out.
Because weekends are so popular, walk-up passes aren't available for Saturdays or Sundays. During the week, a limited number of walk-up passes at one per person are available starting at 1 p.m. They're given out on the Madison Drive side of the museum.
Walk-up entry is also available during off-peak season (September - February) Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until close. Timed passes are required to enter before 1 p.m. during peak season, March to August.
Groups of 10 or more must purchase passes during both peak and off-peak seasons. Click here to reserve your group.
If you're planning a trip from Atlanta in advance and want to make sure you can get tickets before you go, this option is your best bet. If you're able to obtain advanced-entry passes, you can claim up to six. They're timed at 15-minute intervals, and everyone – even infants – entering the museum will need a pass.