When Did the Museum of American History Open?

The Museum of American History, also known as the National Museum of American History, is one of the most prominent museums in the United States. It showcases the history and culture of the country through various exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays. But when did this iconic museum first open its doors to visitors?

The Inception of the Museum

The idea for a national museum that would preserve and present American history dates back to the early 20th century. In 1910, Congress established a Commission on Fine Arts that recommended creating a National Museum of History and Technology. However, it wasn’t until more than five decades later that this idea finally came to fruition.

The Opening Day

On January 23, 1964, the Museum of American History opened its doors to visitors for the first time. The museum was located in what was formerly known as the Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The opening ceremony was attended by hundreds of people including President Lyndon B. Johnson who gave a speech at the event.

The Early Years

In its early years, the Museum of American History featured exhibits on a wide range of topics including science, technology, transportation, and everyday life in America. One of its most popular exhibits was called “A Nation of Nations” which showcased various cultures and ethnic groups that had contributed to American society.

Renovations and Expansion

Over time, as more artifacts were acquired and new technologies were developed for displaying them, the museum underwent several renovations and expansions. In 1980, a new wing was added to house exhibits related to American culture and entertainment such as music, sports, and film.

Recent Developments

In recent years, the Museum of American History has continued to evolve with new exhibits being added on a regular basis. In 2018, the museum opened a new exhibit called “The Nation We Build Together” which explores the history of American democracy and citizenship.


In summary, the Museum of American History opened its doors on January 23, 1964, more than fifty years after the idea for a national history museum was first proposed. Since then, it has become one of the most visited museums in the United States and continues to educate and inspire visitors from all over the world.