SEPTEMBER 21, 2004


On November 18, 1989, President George H. W. Bush signed legislation creating NMAI as part of the Smithsonian. The groundbreaking ceremony for the NAMI on the National Mall was held September 28, 1999. The first national museum in the U.S. dedicated solely to Native Americans, the 5-story, curvilinear building is clad in Kasota limestone evoking natural rock formations shaped by wind & water. The building’s form grew out of the early work of Canadian Blackfoot architect Douglas Cardinal and further developed by the architecture firms of Jones & Jones, SmithGroup in collaboration with Lou Weller (Caddo), the Native American Design Collaborative, and Polshek Partnership Architects. The building is aligned perfectly to the cardinal directions and the center point of the US Capitol Building dome. The NMAI actually operates 3 facilities: The museum on the National Mall, the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, and the Cultural Resources Center (CRC) in Suitland, Maryland.  

Source:  “National Museum of the American Indian,” Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 3/15/2022, National Museum of the American Indian | Smithsonian Institution Archives (
Photo:  Carol M. Highsmith (1946-   ), undated. Public Domain.  Source: Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection, United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID highsm. 12698.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: