Part of the Smithsonian Institute, the National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to advancing the understanding and knowledge of Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere. In partnering with Native people and others, the museum supports traditional values of the past, current culture and future transitions in contemporary Native life. The facility is located on the National Mall and was opened in September 2004. Like many of the Smithsonian museums, this one is vast: It takes up five stories and 250,000 square feet.
The museum houses one of the largest collections of Native artifacts, including media, archives, objects and photography. There are also spaces dedicated to performances, lectures, research and education. The full catalog includes more than 825,000 items representing more than 12,000 years of history across 1,200 indigenous cultures—just throughout the Americas. About 68 percent of the objects on record are from the United States, 3.5 percent from Canada, 10 percent from Mexico and Central America, 11 percent from South America and 6 percent from the Caribbean.
- Be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Mitisitam Native Foods Cafe, which represents traditional Native foods from the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso-America and the Great Plains.
- The museum is free to the public and the operating hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm daily, except for Christmas.
I’m a former Marine and ran the Marine Corps Marathon as my first marathon in 2010, and I’ve run it three more times since then. I’ve run a total of 10 marathons and at least 15 ultras including the JFK 50 miler and several 100 milers. After spending a few years in recovery from Lyme’s disease, I have recently been accepted into one of the world’s most difficult ultras: the Fat Dog 120. I run every race in support of a wounded warrior organization called the SemperMax Support Fund. For me, this is a personal journey. In 2004, Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell was wounded just 50 yards from me. Since then, I have focused my life on reducing wounded warrior suicides. It’s a humbling journey, and you can read more about me and my efforts on the organization’s website.