School Field Trips

Group Visits to the Museum
Groups of ten or more planning to visit the NMAI in Washington, D.C., are strongly encouraged to reserve entry by contacting Group Reservations at nmai-groupreservations@si.edu; 202-633-6644; 888-618-0572 (toll-free); or 202-633-6751 (TTY). After registering, you will receive a confirmation letter and pre-visit teacher resources, including self guides for those groups not scheduling a guided program. Please bring your confirmation letter on the day of your visit. Groups who do not wish to or who are unable to schedule a visit in advance may join the general entry line at any time during museum hours.

Group Visits to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center
All groups, including school or home-school classes, daycare, camp, or scout groups, are required to schedule entry time to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center. Groups may register for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, in 30-minute increments (i.e., 10–10:30 AM; 10:30–11 AM, etc.). Groups must be pre-K to third grade only, and are limited to 30 students per timed entry, with at least one chaperone for every five students. Registration requests must be made at least 48 hours in advance. To reserve a group entry time to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center, contact the Group Reservations Office at nmai-groupreservations@si.edu; 202-633-6644; 888-618-0572 (toll-free); or 202-633-6751 (TTY). Please bring your confirmation letter on the day of your visit.

Self-Guided School Tour, Grades K–3
Self-Guided School Tour, Grades 4–6
Self-Guided School Tour, Grades 7–12
Americans: A Dialogue Toolkit for Educators, Grades 4–12

GUIDED SCHOOL PROGRAMS FOR PRE-REGISTERED GROUPS

Discover new perspectives on American Indian history, culture, and contemporary lives through a shared experience, facilitated with dialogue, in the museum's exhibitions. In these programs, the museum's educators invite students with varied experiences and differing perspectives to engage in an open-ended conversation that leads to personal and collective learning.

Please note:

  • Guided school programs are FREE, but advance registration is required.
  • Programs are available for students in grades 4–12.
  • Each program lasts 60 minutes and may be reserved Monday–Friday from September through May, excluding federal holidays.
  • Program start times are 10:15 and 11:30 AM.
  • Each program can accommodate 60 students; a minimum of 10 students is required to register.

Register for Guided School Programs at right

Register for Guided School Programs

PROGRAM THEMES

Facing Our Treaty Promises
Adaptable to grades 4–12

American Indian treaties with the United States have had enormous and permanent effects on the lands, cultures, and populations of America. Should the United States keep the promises they made in treaties? Can we ask a nation to sacrifice development opportunities in the service of protecting treaty rights? In this program, students will examine three treaties—the Treaty of Canandaigua, the Treaty of New Echota, and the Horse Creek Treaty—to more fully understand the American experience.

Powerful Images, Powerful Words
Adaptable to grades 4–12

American Indian images and names are everywhere in American life, from the Land O'Lakes Butter maiden to the Tomahawk missile. Do these images and words keep American Indians visible or invisible in our society? In this program, students will explore the ways in which Indian names and images—both historical and contemporary—continue to shape how we think about American Indians.

Telling the American Story
Adaptable to grades 4–12

The American story has been profoundly shaped by American Indians, yet the stories told about Indians are often false and almost always incomplete. What do we gain by telling stories that may not be true? What do we lose? In this program, students will examine three key events in American history—the first Thanksgiving, the life of Pocahontas, and the Battle of Little Bighorn—to uncover the hidden stories behind them.

Personal Values and Public Leadership
Adaptable to grades 7–12

In a democracy, leaders are often chosen to support and defend the values of the society they represent. Are our leaders upholding our personal values? In what ways are they successful? In what ways could they do better? In this program, students will examine three historical events that drew attention to, and challenged, American values: the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, and the 1980 United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians court case.

School programs for the Americans exhibition are made possible through the generous support of the Smithsonian Women's Committee.


Chaperones
All school groups must be chaperoned. The museum requires that each teacher assign at least one adult chaperone for every ten students for grades 3 and up. Pre-K through second grade requires at least one adult chaperone for every five students. Chaperones are asked to supervise and remain with their groups at all times and in all locations, including the museum shops. The museum reserves the right to cancel programs for groups that are inadequately supervised and to ask unsupervised groups to leave the building.

Changes and Cancellations
All tours and other programs begin on time. Due to strict scheduling guidelines, groups with a scheduled tour that arrive more than 15 minutes late may receive abbreviated tours. If the group must change or cancel a scheduled tour or program, notify Group Reservations at 202-633-6644, 888-618-0572 (toll-free), or 202-633-6751 (TTY).

Nearby Metro Station
The closest Metro stop is L'Enfant Plaza, served by the Blue, Orange, Green, and Yellow lines. Exit from the upper platform, follow the signs directing to the Smithsonian museums, and walk two blocks east (toward the Capitol Building) on Maryland Avenue. For more information, contact Metro at 202-637-7000 or visit the Metro website at www.wmata.com.

Bus Drop-Off and Parking Locations
The museum allows bus drop-offs on Maryland Avenue only. All school groups enter the building through the Maryland Avenue entrance.

Metered public parking is available on nearby streets; a paid parking garage is located at 500 C Street, S.W. For more information, call 202-298-7054.

Accessibility
The museum is accessible to people with disabilities. All tours and programs can be adapted to accommodate visitors with special needs. To arrange a tour for a special-needs group, contact Group Reservations at nmai-groupreservations@si.edu; 202-633-6644; 888-618-0572 (toll-free); or 202-633-6751 (TTY), at least four weeks in advance.

Security
Visitors should be prepared for a security check upon entrance to the museum. Please note there may be a line to enter the building on busy days. Security policies and a list of prohibited items are available on the Security page.

Group Entrance Procedures
All school groups must use the museum's south entrance on the Independence Avenue side of the building. Upon arrival, groups will be asked to present their confirmation letter. Group size must be in accordance with the number of people specified in the confirmation letter.

Lunch/Mitsitam Cafe
Food may not be brought into the building, and lunch storage is not available. Groups are strongly encouraged to keep lunches on their buses and to picnic on the National Mall. The Mitsitam Cafe offers Native foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Mesoamerica, and the Great Plains. For information about group rates, contact 866-868-7774 or groupsales@si.edu.

Photography
Hand-held, video, and flash photography are permitted in the museum except where restrictions are posted. Tripods are not permitted without prior permission.

For more information regarding school programs, please contact Group Reservations at nmai-groupreservations@si.edu; 202-633-6644; 888-618-0572 (toll-free); or 202-633-6751 (TTY).