National Museum of the American Indian

NMAI building on the National Mall in DC, opened in 2004.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian was established by an act of Congress in 1989, Public Law 101-185, as "a living memorial to Native Americans and their traditions". The creation of the
Heye museum exterior

Museum of the American Indian, founded in 1922 on 155th & Broadway in NYC

museum brought together the collections of the Museum of the American Indian in New York City, founded in 1922, and the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian opened the doors to the NMAI's first facility, the George Gustav Heye Center, in lower

George Gustav Heye Center in New York City

Manhattan in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House and packed materials in the MAI's Bronx research center to be transferred to Maryland for a new research, repatriation, and storage facility, The building on the Washington DC National Mall was completed and opened in 2004.

The National Museum of the American Indian Act also required that human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony be considered for repatriation to tribal communities, as well as objects acquired illegally. As of October 2011, the Smithsonian has returned 5,619 individuals, 182,553 funerary objects, and 52 sacred objects and/or objects of cultural patrimony.

Collection Areas
IMG 3111

Infinity of Nations Gallery, New York City




California/Great Basin

Contemporary Art


Northwest Coast





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