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Plan Your Visit

Before Your Visit

The Museum is open every day except Yom Kippur (October 12, 2016) and Christmas Day (December 25). The Permanent Exhibition and special exhibitions are open from 10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., with extended hours in the spring. See Museum Hours for details.

During the months of March through August, timed passes are required to enter the Permanent Exhibition. To reserve them online in advance of your visit, please see Admission and Ticketing. No passes are required for any other special exhibitions.

Download our free mobile app to create your own itinerary for the day of your visit and to get the most out of your Museum experience. You can also view the Museum Guide (PDF) for a general overview of what you can expect to see on your visit, and check at the Information Desk during your visit for a complete list of that day’s programs.

Group Visits

The Museum advises groups of 40 or more to use our online group reservation system. We offer a limited number of reservations each day and these can fill up quickly, especially during the months of March through August. With a reservation, you do not need passes for entry to the Permanent Exhibition. Find out more about planning a group visit.

Admission and Ticketing

Admission to the Museum is free. From March through August, timed passes are required to enter the Permanent Exhibition. No passes are required for any other Museum exhibitions.

March through August: To prevent crowding during the busy season, the Museum distributes free timed passes for visits to the Permanent Exhibition during the months of March through August. These passes are available at the Museum on the day of your visit or online in advance (external link). Passes for March, April, and May 2016 are available online beginning November 30, 2015 at 8 pm EST; passes for June, July, and August 2016 are available online beginning March 1, 2016. The passes are printed with a one-hour time range, during which you may enter the Permanent Exhibition; passes are not valid for entry after that time. The earliest pass time for entry is 10–11 a.m. and the latest is 3:30–4:30 p.m.

At the Museum, passes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. when the building opens. The pass line forms next to the building in the alley with benches. Staff distribute the passes from the 14th Street side of the alley to allow those with passes to proceed into the building. If you do not plan to visit the Permanent Exhibition, or if you already have a pass, you do not need to wait in the pass line. After staff have distributed passes to those in line, they bring any remaining passes inside the building to be distributed at the Information Desk.

  • Special Ticketing Considerations: The Museum distributes timed passes to the general public. One person may ask for up to 20 passes. With identification, members of the armed forces (including veterans and retirees), law enforcement and firefighting personnel, and federal government employees may obtain complimentary untimed passes for themselves and their families in person at the Information Desk on the day of their visit.
  • Online Advance Ticketing: Etix offers Museum passes in advance (external link) for $1.00 (US) each. These are the same timed passes that the Museum distributes in person each day. If you purchase passes online, please remember to print them and bring them with you to the Museum.

September through February: Passes are not required to enter the Permanent Exhibition during these months. This is the best time of year to visit the Museum because the crowds are generally smaller. We continue to accept group reservations during this time.

Year-round: Passes are not required to enter the Museum building or to go to any of the special exhibitions, memorials, or programming.

Upon arrival at the Museum, all visitors must enter through security scanners. Please allow extra time for this.

For Families

The Museum has many activities appropriate for families with young children. Pick up a Family Guide (PDF) at the Information Desk to learn more about Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story, an exhibition for children age eight and up, and activities like exploring the Children’s Tile Wall.

The Museum recommends the Permanent Exhibition for visitors age 11 and up.

Museum Building

The Museum is located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, between 14th and 15th Streets SW, south of Independence Avenue. View Location and Parking information.

The entrance to the Permanent Exhibition is located on the First Floor. Entrances to other exhibitions and memorial spaces are located throughout the First and Second Floors and the Concourse Level. The Library and Archives are located on the Fifth Floor, and the Museum Cafe is conveniently located across Eisenhower Plaza on the 15th Street side of the building.

The Museum presents its public programs, including lectures, concerts, plays, and interviews, in the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Theater and the Helena Rubinstein Auditorium, both located on the Concourse Level.

Museum facilities are accessible to persons with physical disabilities. See Museum Accessibility for more information.

The Museum building is kept at a low temperature in order to preserve the artifacts displayed in the exhibitions. Please prepare accordingly.

Building Policies

The Museum has two entrances. Our 14th Street entrance is for the general public. The entrance on 15th Street at Raoul Wallenberg Place is designated for scheduled, reserved groups for the Permanent Exhibition.

The following rules apply to the Museum building:

  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are not permitted.
  • Open food and drink containers are not permitted.
  • On entry, all visitors must pass through metal detectors and have their belongings scanned.
  • Unauthorized use of Museum classrooms, theaters, and meeting spaces by outside groups or organizations is prohibited.
  • The Museum cannot guarantee entry to groups that arrive more than 30 minutes after their scheduled group reservation time.

Photo Policy

Visitors to the Museum may make and share personal photos or audiovisual recordings unless otherwise posted.

  • Be considerate of the experiences of other visitors.
  • The use of selfie sticks, tripods, or lighting equipment (including camera flashes) is not allowed inside the Museum building.
  • As you make your photos, do not block the movement of other visitors.
  • Be respectful of other visitors who may not wish to be included in your photos.
  • No photography or audiovisual recording for commercial or promotional purposes is allowed without prior arrangement with the Museum’s Communications division.
  • No photography is permitted of security officers, security equipment, or security screening areas within the Museum.

The Museum reserves the right to stop visitors from using their phones, cameras, or video recording devices at its discretion.