National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian brings insight into the history and culture of major tribes throughout the Americas and the Caribbean

National Museum of the American Indian in New York
National Museum of the American Indian in New York cc licensed photo by Daniel Bonatto

Located in the US Customs House, the George Gustav Heye Center in New York is a branch of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian established to promote knowledge and understanding of indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere.

This museum, one of only a few in New York that offer free admission, opened in 1994 followed by two other locations: Suitland, Maryland and the National Mall in Washington DC. It was the first museum committed to the conservation of Native American culture.

The permanent collection held at the National Museum of the American Indian consists of over 800,000 items of historical and cultural significance for all major tribes and cultures throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. In addition to the artefacts on view, the museum houses an impressive audio-visual collection, including over 90,000 historical and contemporary archives including photographs, paper folios and recordings.

For an in-depth experience, visitors can plan to spend four hours viewing the museum galleries. Visitors can also take advantage of a number of public programs including gallery talks and Native American storytelling, dance exhibitions, musical performances, films, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

It is also well worth the visit to the museum just to see the architectural details of the historic Customs House that houses the collection.

Nearby attractions include Battery Park, Staten Island Ferry, Skyscraper Museum, Financial District, Trinity Church, St. Paul's Chapel and the Brooklyn Bridge

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Open Now

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004, USA

Phone: (212) 514-3700

Official Website: National Museum of the American Indian


Subway Line Nearest Station Walking Time
4 or 5Bowling Green1 minute
RWhitehall Street3 minutes
1South Ferry4 minutes
JBroad Street6 minutes
2 or 3Wall Street8 minutes

How to get to National Museum of the American Indian by Subway

Take the 4 or 5 train to Bowling Green which exits right in front of the museum or take the R train to Whitehall Street and follow it north to the museum on your left or take the 1 train to South Ferry, turn left onto State Street, then right onto Bowling Green or take the J train to Broad Street, follow it south to Beaver Street and go right to Bowling Green or take the 2 or 3 train to Wall Street, walk south along William Street then right (west) on Beaver Street to the museum.

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Rated 4.4 out of 5National Museum of the American Indian Star Rating

5 Star Rating The National Museum of the American Indian is one of my favorite places in downtown Manhattan. I live nearby so I am able to visit quite frequently. The museum is located in the historical US Custom House which is a true architectural gem. The permanent exhibits at the Museum are an interesting collection of Native American artifacts. The shop at the Museum offers an interesting selection of books for sale on Native American history and culture.

Susy Paula - 2 days ago

5 Star Rating Awesome museum that the city offers for FREE admission. There's a lot to see and learn here. The staff is helpful, very friendly and informative. I would recommend coming early so you don't miss anything and take as much time looking at things as you need. They have temporary exhibitions so it's great to stop by once in a while.

Michelle Kaewchandee - 5 days ago

5 Star Rating Spacious & calm environment. Not like the Met or MoMA crowds😅. Great place to bring kids & there's even a play area! There are talk sessions by college professors as well, very informative & interesting. Can't wait to go back!

まみみ様 - 9 days ago

5 Star Rating It's a fascinating museum, a wing of the Smithsonian. Very interesting exhibits and a LOT to look at, even though the museum itself is pretty small. You could spend hours examining everything or just wander through. It's also FREE. And the building itself is beautiful, so you could spend time just admiring it. A definite recommendation and a place to go back to over and over.

Joseph Zygnerski - 16 days ago


Watch this video to get an idea of the wide range of exhibits that you will discover during a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian

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