UPDATE 10/4/2016: A glitch occured during yesterday's release of the 2017 timed entry passes required to visit the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Some 64,000 passes had to be re-issued for the days between January and March 2017; passholders were notified and offered exchanges. A new release of passes for the 2017 months of January, February and March begins at 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 5. To get the passes, go to the museum's website or call ETIX Customer Support Center at (866) 297-4020. Timed passes are required for entry to the museum and will continue to be required indefinitely.
UPDATE 9/30/2016: The National Museum of African American History and Culture will offer free free, timed passes on Monday, Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. for the months of January, February and March 2017. To get the passes, go to the museum's website or call ETIX Customer Support Center at (866) 297-4020. Timed passes are required for entry to the museum and will continue to be required indefinitely.
UPDATE 9/28/2016: All timed entry passes to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture have been distributed through the month of December. Passes for 2017 are not yet available. A limited number of same-day timed entry passes are offered each day at the museum and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 9:15 a.m.
Throughout 170 years of the Smithsonian Institution's history, 18 museums have been created. The 19th will open its doors for the first time to the public on September 24. This is an event which is literally rarer than a blue moon. And for those hoping to be first in, the museum today announced that timed-entry passes will become available online tomorrow August 27, at 9 a.m., EDT.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture will kick off its opening celebrations with a three-day music festival starting on Friday, September 23rd, “Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration.” The outdoor festival will include musical performances on tented stages, storytelling, drum circles and interactive workshops. It is free and open to the public.
The museum building will open for visitors at 1 p.m. on Saturday and close at 6 p.m. and will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday, September 25th. In order to prevent over-crowding, visitors are required to reserve timed passes to enter the museum. Though the passes are timed at 15 minute intervals there is no limit on the amount of time visitors can spend inside the building. The tickets are free of charge and will be available through the museum's website and by phone, beginning Saturday, August 27 at 9 a.m.. There will not be same-day walk-up passes available that weekend, but a limited number will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Monday, September 26.
An outdoor dedication ceremony for the museum will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 24th (a prelude starts at 8 a.m.). President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address. The public is welcome to attend and tickets to the ceremony are not required. The Secret Service prohibits umbrellas from being carried at the ceremony, even if it is raining. Large-screen viewing areas will ensure that all visitors will be able to view the ceremony.
After 13 years of preparation, the museum has almost 37,000 objects in it's collections. With much to see, visitors are encouraged to begin their visit to the museum by taking an escalator 40 feet underground to the very bottom. An exhibition on the global slave trade that brought enslaved Africans to North American shores starts the experience with a journey through centuries of African American history. As a series of ramps bring visitors higher, exhibitions on slavery, segregation, and the civil rights movement are passed. Objects like a wooden slave cabin and a segregation-era railway car punctuate the visitor's passage. Above the final ramp, an airplane piloted by the Tuskegee Airmen hovers.
In today's announcement, the museum released the following information:
Online Free timed passes for visitors will be available online at nmaahc.si.edu beginning Saturday, Aug. 27, at 9 a.m. EDT. There is a limit of six free timed passes per email address.
Toll-free Phone Up to six free timed passes obtained through the Customer Support Center will be emailed or mailed in advance. Contact ETIX Customer Support Center at (800) 514-3849 or (919) 653-0443. Hours of operation: Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. EDT.
Nonprofit Groups School, student, religious and community-based organizations with groups of 10 or more may obtain free advance timed passes by phone. It is recommended groups provide at least one adult chaperone for every five students under the age of 18. Contact ETIX Customer Support Center at (800) 514-3849 or (919) 653-0443.
Same-day Passes in Person Four free timed passes per visitor can be obtained in person at the museum on the same day of the visit. Passes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis by the museum’s Visitor Services staff at beginning at 9:15 a.m. daily.
Commercial Tour Operators Passes for commercial tour operators are available only through ETIX Customer SupportCenter at (800) 514-3849 or (919) 653-0443.
Dedication Weekend Activities Large crowds are expected for the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Security screenings will occur at entrances to viewing areas on the Washington Monument grounds for the dedication ceremony and the Freedom Sounds Festival. Security clearances also are required for all visitors entering the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
There will be no general public admission to the grounds of the museum during the dedication ceremony Saturday, Sept. 24. However, the public is invited to watch the ceremony from the grounds of the Washington Monument and on Jumbotrons around the site. Visitors can gain entry to the site only through security screening at access points at 17th Street N.W. and Constitution Avenue N.W. or at 17th Street S.W. and Independence Avenue S.W.