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When to Get Walk-Up Admission at D.C.’s African American Museum This Month | Frommer's Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

D.C.’s African American Museum Tests a Change to Its Admissions Policy

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. is trying out a new admissions practice this month.

Each Wednesday in April, visitors can simply walk up to to the building on Constitution Avenue, get in line, and gain entry to the museum on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 10am, when it opens. 

That might sound like standard museum-going procedure, but not at this institution, which has proven to be such a colossal hit since opening in the fall of 2016—receiving more than 3 million people already—that it has to issue timed-entry passes that visitors must reserve two months in advance.

But not during April's Walk-Up Wednesdays, when those who don't have passes—but do have the patience to stand in line—can get into the museum to see artifacts ranging from Harriet Tubman's hymnal to Louis Armstrong's trumpet and much more.

Priority access will still go to those who reserved timed-entry passes ahead of time. As always, admission is free.

So if you're going to be in the nation's capital on any of the three remaining Wednesdays in April and you didn't reserve a pass to the African American history museum back in February, you've been given another chance to see it. (Incidentally, D.C. is one of our favorite places in the United States this time of year.)

When it's not a Wednesday in April, pass-less visitors can try to snag a same-day reservation online starting at 6:30am or getting one of the few walk-up passes issued at 1pm every Monday to Friday—but those go quickly.

For a virtual preview of the museum, see our roundup of some of its most fascinating exhibits