Honoring the original inhabitants of our country’s land, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian brings one of the world’s largest collections of artifacts from the Americas’ indigenous cultures to Washington, DC. Smithsonian curators and the building’s architects worked hand in hand with American Indians from across the continent to create an authentic and educational visitor experience.

The museum’s 825,000 items represent more than 12,000 years of history and over 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. Along with artifacts pertaining to everyday life, the Museum of the American Indian also showcases a large collection of Native American fine art, photography, and more. From pottery with intricate designs to clothing like century old, rainbow moccasins, the displays are both aesthetically and contextually gripping.

The National Museum of the American Indian’s thought provoking exhibitions aim, on a grand scale, to offer a diverse and intricate look into the culture and history of Native Americans through both historical and contemporary perspectives. Exhibits on original treaties made between the United States and American Indian nations, on the lives and identities of today’s American Indians, on traditional knowledge of shapes through art, exemplify the breadth of influence this Smithsonian institution draws from.

Outside, the National Museum of the American Indian is an eye-catching, curvy building with heavy use of overhanging architecture that resemble a wind-sculpted rock outcropping. Its position facing to the east and a dome that lets in sunlight are some of the property’s many details inspired by American Indian cultures. Surrounding landscaping connects nature to the building with water lily wetlands and Cypress trees.

This stunning piece of DC culture is just a short walk from the Capitol Hill Hotel right on the National Mall. As part of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of the American Indian does not charge for admission.