Things to Do This Summer: Make a (Virtual) ‘Visit’ to the Smithsonian

"Americans" at the National Museum of the American Indian is available online. (Photo: © Paul Morigi/AP for the National Museum of the American Indian)
“Americans” at the National Museum of the American Indian is available online. (Photo: © Paul Morigi/AP for the National Museum of the American Indian)

If you are looking for new things to this summer do while staying home or social distancing, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has you covered.

The museum has lots of free content available for both adults and kids, including digital learning tools for students of all ages and online versions of many of its most popular exhibitions. Access to this content is through the museum’s website:

For Students

Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) is the museum’s national education initiative to inspire and promote improvement of teaching and learning about American Indians.

NK360° provides educational materials and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America. The initiative’s website has digital lessons for K-12 students, teacher guides, videos and websites. Several lessons are also available in Spanish.

Online Exhibitions

Many of the museum’s most popular exhibitions are available to explore online. “Americans” shows how American Indians have been part of the nation’s identity since before the country began. Visitors can click on some familiar images and learn why images of American Indians are everywhere in our country.

The bilingual exhibition “The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire” examines why the Inka Road was built more than 500 years ago, and how its construction — without the use of metal or iron, the wheel or stock animals to pull heavy loads — stands as one of the greatest engineering feats.

The exhibition “Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian,” which features some 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central and South America, demonstrates the breadth of the museum’s collection and highlights the historic importance of many of these iconic objects.

“Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field” is the museum’s newest exhibition. It features the work of two Native photojournalists who are using photography to break down stereotypes and portray stories that show the diversity and complexity of their contemporary lives.

Explore the Collections

Through the website’s search, visitors can learn more about the history of the museum’s holdings, which have their foundation in the collection largely assembled by George Gustav Heye, beginning in 1897. The collection currently contains more than 800,000 items from across the entire Western Hemisphere. And for more from the collections, visit the museum’s new Google Arts & Culture website.


For in-depth stories about objects in the museum’s collection, insights into new exhibitions or news from Indian Country, visit the museum’s page on the Smithsonian Voices blog.


The museum’s online store offers an array of books for adults and kids, cards, CDs and DVDs. The best part? Your purchase helps to continue the museum’s important work.

You can also get more content from the museum by following it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks to great online exhibitions, educational materials, and yes, even shopping, you can spend this summer “visiting” an amazing museum from wherever you are.