Archive Center

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Archive Center actively acquires and serves as a repository for the records of contemporary Native and Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and organizations. In addition, the Archive Center holds the records of the NMAI’s predecessor institution, the Museum of the American Indian (MAI), Heye Foundation.

The Archive Center supports the mission of the museum by collecting, organizing, preserving, and making available papers, records, photographs, recordings, and ephemera that reflect the historical and contemporary lives of Native peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere. The archival collections are particularly focused on Native arts, cultures, knowledge systems, politics, events, and social and political movements. They also complement the NMAI’s object collections and are used for scholarly research, exhibitions, journalism, documentary productions, and other research, educational, and Native community activities.

The Archive Center houses approximately 1,500 linear feet of manuscripts, over half a million photographs, and thousands of sound and audiovisual recordings dating from the late nineteenth century to the present. Many of the Archive Center’s resources and a selection of archival photographs are available online through the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA), the Smithsonian Collections Search Center, and the Smithsonian Transcription Center.

The Archive Center provides additional reference services to Native and Indigenous community members, scholars, researchers, journalists, museum staff, and the general public. The Archive Center is in the NMAI Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, and is open to researchers by appointment. Appointments must be scheduled a minimum of five business days in advance. To schedule an in-person research appointment with the Archive Center, email

To submit a reference question to the Archive Center, email

To request digital images for research, publication(s), exhibition(s), etc., email

Archive Center Staff
Emily Moazami, Acting Head Archivist
Nathan Sowry, Reference Archivist
Rachel Menyuk, Processing Archivist
Jeremy Gardner, Digitization Specialist