Somber and sobering, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is unlike any other museum in Washington DC. Housed inside an imposing limestone, glass, and brick building, the museum’s exhibits take an unflinching look at the Nazi Party’s rise to power in Germany and the subsequent execution of millions of Jews during World War II. Displays use historical objects, photographs, film footage, and Holocaust survivor testimonials to confront the horrors of one of the darkest chapters in human history, as well as to document courageous rescue efforts.
The museum’s main permanent exhibition, The Holocaust, spreads across three floors and is designed to be self-guided. From March through August, timed tickets are required for this moving exhibition. Obtain tickets online in advance or on the day, or in person on the day. The museum begins giving out same-day tickets at 9:45am for timed entry slots throughout the day. From September through February, no ticket is required.
The museum also has a special exhibition titled Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story, which is specifically aimed at families with children over 8 years old. Tickets are not required to enter this or any of the museum’s other exhibitions, nor are they required for the Hall of Remembrance, the library, or the Survivors and Victims Resource Center, where visitors can research their family history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The museum’s main exhibition is not recommended for children under 11 years old.
- Bring a sweater, as some of the exhibition rooms are kept cool to help preserve the artifacts on display.
- The museum is wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Holocaust Memorial Museum is situated on Raoul Wallenberg Place on Washington DC’s National Mall, just south of Independence Avenue. It’s about a 5-minute walk from the Smithsonian metro station.
When to Get There
The museum is open every day except for Yom Kippur and Christmas. It is busiest from March through August (as is all of DC). During this time, security-line waits can be 15 minutes or even longer. The museum is quietest on early weekend mornings and late weekday afternoons.
Museum-Hopping Along the National Mall
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is one of many Smithsonian and other museums situated along the National Mall. If you want to continue museum-hopping, consider visiting the National Gallery of Art, whose collection includes works by da Vinci, Degas, and Calder; the National Air and Space Museum, which features flight simulators and noteworthy aircraft; the National Museum of Natural History, home to the fabled Hope Diamond; or the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which provides a comprehensive overview of the African American experience.