Top Menu

About Us

Location, Hours, and Admission

950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20560

202.357.4879 (fax)

10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily except December 25.

Admission is free.

Museum Floor Plan

Mission Statement

To inspire conversations about the beauty, power, and diversity of African arts and cultures worldwide.

Museum History

The National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) began as a private educational institution in 1964 to promote cross-cultural understanding in the social sciences and arts. Founded by Warren M. Robbins, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer, it was known as the Museum of African Art and located on Capitol Hill in a townhouse that had been the home of Frederick Douglass, the African American abolitionist and statesman. In August 1979, by enactment of Public Law 95-414, the museum became part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge.


A Video History of the Museum

(Best played in fullscreen. Use the expanded button at the bottom right of the video)


The National Museum of African Art is located on the National Mall between the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building and the Sackler Gallery of Art. The main entranceto the museum is located in the Enid Haupt Garden on Independence Avenue.

Map of the Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Station (Blue and Orange lines); exit on the National Mall or on Independence Avenue.

L’Enfant Plaza Station (all lines except Red); exit Maryland Avenue/Smithsonian Museums

Parking and transportation

Street parking is limited and posted times are enforced. Use public transportation or taxis as an alternate means of travel.

We invite you to try Metrorail and Metrobus, Washington, D.C.’s transit system.


African Art does not have a dining facility on site. There are, however, many places to eat in and around the Smithsonian Institution

Museum Store

Open 10 a.m.-5:15 p.m.


The Museum Store offers a wide selection of merchandise inspired by the collections and the arts and cultures of Africa.

Photography and drawing

Personal photography without the use of a flash or tripod is permitted in the galleries unless otherwise indicated. Only dry writing and drawing materials, such as pencils or Conte crayons, are permitted in the galleries.

Support Us

Join us today and make a lasting contribution to the future of the National Museum of African Art. In an economy of shrinking federal assistance, your support provides the vital resources necessary to sustain and develop our exhibitions and programs.

NMAfA Strategic Plan