National Museum of African Art

National Museum of African Art

National Museum of African Art
4.5
About
Part of the Smithsonian Institution that concentrates on crafts and objects from the sub-Saharan region of Africa.
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The area
Address
How to get there
  • Smithsonian • 4 min walk
  • L'Enfant Plaza • 6 min walk
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See what travellers are saying
  • MsKiesha
    Alexandria, Virginia2,767 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful museum
    Absolutely breathtaking exhibits and very beautiful museum. I really enjoy my visit and was in awe of the creativity and diversity throughout the museum. It was not crowded at all, so I was able to find parking right across the street and take my time in each exhibit. I look forward to coming back in the future.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 27 October 2023
  • montanapescado
    Albuquerque, New Mexico1,403 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A worthwhile stop at the Smithsonian; good use of time
    This is one of the Smithsonian's smaller collections, but the variety of styles media is impressive. It's nice to have a Smithsonian museum with this breadth that doesn't take all day to properly explore. This is a fine introduction to African art for those of us not already well versed in the topic.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 18 November 2023
  • Robert D
    4,185 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent museum
    The National Museum of African Art is much larger than it looks from the outside because most of the exhibits are underground. There is a wide variety of exhibits to enjoy. Benin artist Georges Adeagbo created an installation of over 200 items that are associated with Abraham Lincoln which was displayed in Lincoln's Summer Cottage and now have come to the Smithsonian. One of the most unusual exhibits was "From the Deep: In the Wake of Drexciya with Ayana Jackson". Drexciya is an imaginary underwater kingdom populated by the children of pregnant women who had been thrown overboard or jumped voluntarily into the ocean during the transatlantic slave trade.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 5 January 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles248 reviews
Excellent
118
Very good
96
Average
23
Poor
7
Terrible
4

Doug M
Chesterfield, MO796 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
This one of the smaller of the Smithsonian museums, and was not very crowded at all when I was there. The pieces on display are pretty interesting, with most items being sculptures or physical items, and only a few paintings. It doesn't take too long to go through, especially compared to the other museums. Really for those interested specifically in African art or wanting to check off all the museums.
Written 5 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert D
Brooklyn, New York4 185 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
The National Museum of African Art is much larger than it looks from the outside because most of the exhibits are underground. There is a wide variety of exhibits to enjoy. Benin artist Georges Adeagbo created an installation of over 200 items that are associated with Abraham Lincoln which was displayed in Lincoln's Summer Cottage and now have come to the Smithsonian. One of the most unusual exhibits was "From the Deep: In the Wake of Drexciya with Ayana Jackson". Drexciya is an imaginary underwater kingdom populated by the children of pregnant women who had been thrown overboard or jumped voluntarily into the ocean during the transatlantic slave trade.
Written 5 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MsKiesha
Alexandria, VA2 767 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
Absolutely breathtaking exhibits and very beautiful museum. I really enjoy my visit and was in awe of the creativity and diversity throughout the museum. It was not crowded at all, so I was able to find parking right across the street and take my time in each exhibit. I look forward to coming back in the future.
Written 27 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

montanapescado
Albuquerque, NM1 403 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
This is one of the Smithsonian's smaller collections, but the variety of styles media is impressive. It's nice to have a Smithsonian museum with this breadth that doesn't take all day to properly explore. This is a fine introduction to African art for those of us not already well versed in the topic.
Written 18 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

verity1
london15 266 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I saw many museums in Washington, all the others superb, but this one was a travesty. It had virtually no exhibits on show, and the lady on the information desk could not give me any information and said she did not know anything about the exhibits. In the end, apart from a couple of small Benin type bronzes, all I could find in the whole place was a poster informing me that Africa was a continent and not a country. I could only assume this "museum"was a political gesture rather than a serious attempt at scholarship. It is a shame, as the building has lots of potential, and African art is very interesting, but despite what they may say in the guidebooks, you won't find much of it here.
Written 23 April 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TripReady
New York30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017 • Couples
If you haven't gone, plan to go. On the release date for tickets I was glued to the website and got my tickets for one day. Oops...so much to see, read, process you need more than one day. Love the structure, inside and out, of the museum. Everyone strives to be respectful and quiet so you can read and look. Bus loads of people come. Museum staff said best days to come to beat crows is Mondays. We went Thursday and friday. More crowded on fridau. TRY TO GO DURING THE WEEK!
Written 30 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michelle H
Columbia, MD88 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I had to go to this museum for a class. I was kind of interested in going since had never been. I felt very uncomfortable being there seeing as I was apart of a minority in this building. It is not at all interactive and there are do not touch signs on everything. I was expecting a lot more .
Written 16 January 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheRoadTripsNeverEnd
Williamsburg, VA130 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
If you are coming from the Smithsonian station, this is hard to find. Go to the Garden behind the 'Castle" and head to Independence. Some exhibits were closed or being remodeled. So can go through quickly. But well worth the time. Was hoping to see more on African fashion. But the gift shop does an amazing job there. This is a quick visit. Then you can go to the lowest level and head to Sackler/Freer museums underground. Go past the rest rooms. It also isn't well marked. But great for a rainy day.
Written 24 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BobN06
Avondale, PA720 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
First visit to this museum despite being in DC numerous times. Found the museum content to be of excellent quality and well laid out. Could have spent more time here.
Written 10 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maria F
Ames, IA256 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Friends
This exhibit contains some wonderful exhibits. We spent around two hours going through the different rooms. I would also recommend that everyone glances through at the children’s room because some of the things such as different types of dolls & outfits were really neat.
Written 5 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN ART (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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