National Museum of the American Indian is on the National Mall at 4th St. and Independence Ave. S.W., between the National Air and Space Museum and the United States Botanic Garden. This Smithsonian museum is one of three facilities—the others are in New York and Maryland—presenting the art, customs and history of the Western Hemisphere's Native people. An orientation film, children's activity center and such items as wood and stone carvings, gold objects, sculpture and clothing further the understanding of both ancient and living cultures.
The curvilinear building of Kasota buff-colored limestone simulates natural rock formations sculpted over time by wind and water. Design features such as a prism window to mark the solstices and an entrance facing east toward the morning sun are representative of Native cultures.
The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire explores the construction and legacy of the Inka Road, one of history's monumental engineering achievements. The history and legacy of diplomacy from the Colonial era through the present is the focus of Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations.
The exhibitions Our Universes, Return to a Native Place and Nation to Nation showcase Native communities across North, South and Central America. A must-see on the fourth floor is the circular Lelawi Theater's presentation of “Who We Are,” a 13-minute multimedia experience conveying the presence and diversity of the Native people of the Americas. The family-friendly imagiNATIONS Activity Center offers various hands-on experiences.
The museum also presents performances and public programs, including films, arts and crafts demonstrations, Native music and dance presentations, theater and symposia.