The National Museum of American History opened to the public in January 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology. It was the sixth Smithsonian building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Museum offers three floors of exhibitions that explore the rich diversity of American history, from "First Ladies: Political Role and Public Image" to "America on the Move." Festivals, lectures, musical performances, symposia, informal talks by curators, and many other activities are a crucial part of the life of the Museum. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Admission is free. Located on the National Mall, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
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city was built from scratch, Washington's
regular town plan is easy to grasp. Centered
on Capitol Hill and its governmental
monoliths, the District is divided into four
quadrants - northeast, northwest, southeast
and southwest. Dozens of broad avenues , all
named after states, run diagonally across a
standard grid of streets , meeting up at
monumental traffic circles like Dupont
Circle. North-south streets are numbered,
east-west ones are lettered. There's no J
Street, an intentional slight to early
Supreme Court Justice John Jay, or X, Y or Z
Street. I Street is often written Eye
Street. Be sure to note the relevant
two-letter code in any address (NW, NE, SW,
SE), which shows its quadrant; 1600
Pennsylvania Ave NW is a long way from 1600
Pennsylvania Ave SE.
Once in the
city, stop at the
DC Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center ,
Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania
Ave NW (Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm; tel
202/328-4748), which can help with maps,
tours, bookings and citywide information.
Look for visitor information desks at the
airports and Union Station.
The White House Visitor Information Center
, 1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW (daily
7.30am-4pm; tel 202/208-1631), supplies free
maps and handy guides to museums and
attractions; the most useful is the free
Washington DC Visitors Guide .