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

National Museum of the American Indian Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • 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 – 5:00 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

National Museum of the American Indian Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5 Star Rating

4 Star Rating Nice museum. It's a Smithsonian and admission is free. We went here immediately after arriving in New York. We were tired and hot. It was quite warm inside the museum. I don't think we saw the entire thing, but what we did see was interesting. Not crowded at all. Easy to get to via subway and a short walk. There is a security screening upon arrival. No tickets required. The museum gift shop was great. I made a few purchases here. They had some amazing things. Worth a stop.
Evelyn Moore - a week ago

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5 Star Rating The Museum of the Native American is housed in the majestic US Customs building at Bowling Green. Entrance is FREE all day and every day. Exhibits are beautiful and devoted to the Native Americans on the East Coast. The rooms are large and almost all have comfortable benches to sit and look at artifacts. A cafe is open from Wednesday to Sunday and the museum store has beautiful jewelry. An elevator is also available if one doesn’t wish to climb the entrance staircase.
Sabena Singh - a month ago

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4 Star Rating Today I visited this museum with my schoolchildren. The exhibition turned out to be really small; we walked around all the halls in about an hour. The children liked the playrooms on the first floor the most. I liked the building, beautiful architecture. There were few visitors, although admission was free. I expected more; I planned a three-hour visit, because the museum building is so huge! And the museum security is really not very friendly. But overall the impressions were good.
Skorobogach Olga - 4 months ago

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5 Star Rating This is one the finest museums of New York, you will find various artifacts belonging to various tribes of North, Central, Carribbean and South America. The staff here is very well educated and will answer a lot of your queries. I went there and enjoyed the Hawaiian weekend, learnt to make bracelets, flower garlands and watched the traditional Hawaiian dance.
Chintan Gandhi - a month ago

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5 Star Rating Free admission. Have to go through security and have bags scanned. No food or drinks allowed. Many touch screens explained artifacts and exhibits. Gift shop has beautiful jewelry, toys, and souvenirs.
Rick Lupton - 2 months ago

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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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