Tips for Getting Tickets to NMAAHC and When They Are Not Necessary

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announces no-ticket days and afternoons

The Smithsonian's popular National Museum of African and American History and Culture announced a new ticketing plan. It's free, and sometimes you won't need a ticket, but it's complicated. Jason Flakes

Visiting Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) without timed-entry passes, or tickets, just got easier. The recently-announced 2019 guidelines mark a significant change for the museum, which has seen almost 5 million visitors since its historic 2016 opening. NMAAHC is open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day of the year except for Christmas Day, December 25. The museum is free, but entry is governed by a system of timed-entry passes, or tickets. The new 2019 policies expand the hours visitors can walk in without timed-entry passes. Here’s how walk-up entry and the passes will work in 2019 and over the holiday season.

No Ticket Weekdays September through February

The biggest shift for 2019 museumgoers is that on weekdays, in the off-peak fall and winter months from September to February, no tickets are required. This policy goes into effect January 2019. The museum’s designated “walk-up entry” policy will be offered throughout the work week, Monday through Friday, but timed-entry passes or tickets will still be required on weekend days.

Tickets Required March Through August

Timed-entry passes will remain in effect for entry between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the months of March through August on both weekdays as well as weekends year-round. However, after 1 p.m. on weekdays, visitors can enter without a timed-entry pass; weekend visitors will still have to have timed-entry passes throughout the day. The difference between the off-peak months and the peak March to August season is that museum visitors arriving in the spring and summer months will still need to obtain a timed-entry pass to explore NMAAHC before 1 p.m on weekdays.

How to Get Timed-Entry Tickets

Timed-entry tickets are made available online up to 30 days in advance of a visit date. These advance passes can be claimed online at 8 a.m.. Museumgoers can obtain same-day passes online starting at 8:15 a.m.

Groups of Ten or More Can Now Enjoy Single Pass Registration

Beginning January 7, the museum is launching its new online group ticketing platform. The museum will issue a single pass for an entire group registering for visits to the museum between February 1 and April 30, 2019.

How to Get Tickets Now

The new visitation policy change takes effect starting in January 2019. For the rest of December 2018, visitors can enter the museum without passes on weekdays after 1 p.m. There are no advance timed-entry passes available for December, but same-day passes can be obtained online, every morning beginning at 6:30. To handle holiday crowds, the museum is extending its hours of operation December 26 through December 29, remaining open until 7:30 p.m. And don't forget, NMAAHC, like all the other Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo, will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25.

Get the latest on what's happening At the Smithsonian in your inbox.