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Grand Opening Celebration


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian celebrates its Grand Opening on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, September 21, 2004.


Set against the dramatic backdrop of the U.S. Capitol building on the National Mall, the museum’s location symbolizes a deeper understanding and reconciliation between America’s first citizens and those who have come to make these shores their home. The opening of NMAI on the National Mall marks an unprecedented cultural achievement as Native Americans from North, Central, and South America realize a long-awaited dream to share and honor their vibrant cultures with visitors from throughout the world.



Grand Opening Events


The museum’s Grand Opening will include numerous activities during a week of festivities marking this historic event. We invite everyone to come celebrate with us at the museum’s Grand Opening, and encourage visitors to make the National Museum of the American Indian the first stop on their cultural journey through the nation’s capital.


Timed Entry Passes


Due to the extraordinary number of visitors expected at the time of the opening, free Timed Passes will be necessary for entry to the museum. A limited number of passes may be reserved in advance for a nominal service fee at www.tickets.com, or call toll-free, 866-400-NMAI (6624). A limited number of Timed Entry Passes will also be distributed daily, starting at 10 a.m., at the east entrance of the museum. Members of the museum will receive free Timed Entry Passes good for entry any time. Visitors who do not wish to obtain advance passes may wait in line to enter the museum free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis.



Grand Opening Ceremony FAQs


When is the opening ceremony for the Museum? The opening ceremony will be Tuesday, September 21, 2004 from noon until 1:00 p.m. directly following the Native Nations Procession.


Where will the opening ceremony take place? The opening ceremony will take place on The National Mall in front of the U.S. Capital Building, 3rd Street between Jefferson Drive and Madison Drive.


Who can attend the opening ceremony? The opening ceremony is free and open to the public.


What will I see at the opening ceremony? Dignitaries including the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Lawrence M. Small, NMAI Director W. Richard West, Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell will deliver opening remarks followed by cultural presentations and blessing of the Mall museum.


Will there be seating at the opening ceremony? Due to the large number of people anticipated for the opening ceremony, seating will be provided only for guests with special needs.


May I participate in the opening ceremony? The opening ceremony is an event that has been meticulously choreographed to present the opening remarks and blessings by select dignitaries within certain time constraints. If you are a Native artist interested in participating in the grand opening celebrations please refer to the First Americans Festival FAQs.


Who may I contact for further information about the opening ceremony? You may contact the Visitor Information Associate's Reception Center (VIARC) at 202-633-1000.

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