Sitting at the foot of the Wiechquaekeck Trail, an old Algonquin trade route (aka Broadway), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is the direct descendant of the original Museum of the American Indian established by George Gustav Heye in 1916. It became part of the Smithsonian Institution in 1989.
The National Museum of the American Indian is where the many nations of America come together, and it cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native objects covering the entire Western Hemisphere.
Take a free bilingual (English-Spanish) audio tour at our museum. Look for the QR codes and enjoy the new bilingual (English-Spanish) audio guides, accessible via your personal device. Narrated by museum’s staff and Jana Schmieding (Mniconjou and Sicangu Lakota), writer and actor on the sitcom Rutherford Falls.
The museum is located in the historic Alexander Hamilton US Custom House on the south side of Bowling Green, in lower Manhattan, adjacent to the northeast corner of Battery Park.
Native New York, Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces.
The long-term exhibition Infinity of Nations: Art and History from the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian showcases more than 700 objects and represents the tremendous breadth of the collections and the richness of Native art. The museum features contemporary Native art in Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting and Ancestral Connections.
Photo courtesy C&G Partners, exhibit designers.
Paying homage to the land the museum was built on, Native New York looks at how the Haudenosaunee, Lenape and Long Island Native Nations have shaped the region. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the city and state to explore the question “What makes New York a Native place?” It looks at how Native communities have shaped the region, and how an understanding of New York history—and American history—is incomplete without understanding the role of Native Nations. The exhibition uses objects, media, interactives, and narrative comics to demonstrate how New York is, and always has been, a Native place.
The National Museum of the American Indian store offers items that illustrate how different artists interpret cultural traditions and art forms, featuring jewelry, textiles, beadwork, musical instruments, and other works by Indigenous artists; souvenirs; and children’s books and toys. To shop online click here. The store is open Monday-Friday from noon to 5pm.
The Museum From Home
If you can’t visit now in person, you can check out online exhibitions—Developing Stories and Why We Serve—and enjoy virtual programs and past events from home. The museum gathered some of their favorite videos, articles, and websites into themed collections. These pages offer deep dives into topics like American Indian Removal, Thanksgiving, contemporary and historical Native American women, and food sovereignty.
Getting to the National Museum of the American Indian
The museum is located on the south side of Bowling Green, in Lower Manhattan, adjacent to the northeast corner of Battery Park.
4 & 5 trains to Bowling Green
1 train to Rector Street or South Ferry
R (& W on weekdays) trains to Whitehall Street
J & Z trains to Broad Street
2 & 3 trains to Wall Street
M5, M15, M20
Visit NY MTA for maps and service updates for subways and buses.
For more information about the NY museum, visit:
Stay Connected with the Museum
Top photo: National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. Photo by David Sundberg (2016).