The NMAI’s security measures ensure visitor safety and the protection of objects in the museum. Visitors are greeted upon entry to the building by Smithsonian security personnel who conduct a thorough but speedy hand-check of all bags, briefcases, purses, strollers, and containers. All visitors are required to walk through a metal detector. Those who are unable to go through the metal detector will be hand-screened with an electronic wand by security personnel. Help speed entry into the museum by having all purses or bags open and ready for inspection, and pockets emptied before going through the screening station.
Please note there may be a line to enter the museum on busy days. There are two public entrances to the museum—the main entrance (east side) and the group entrance (south side). Depending on visitation, one entrance may have a shorter line, so be sure to check both entrances.
The following items are NOT PERMITTED in the museum:
- selfie sticks
- pen knives
- food and drinks
- aerosol cans, including pepper spray and mace
- placards, signs, or banners
The following items are PERMITTED in the museum:
- service animals
- mobility aids (canes, walkers, etc.)
- bottled water
Refer to the Smithsonian's security policy for the most current information.