The National Museum of the American Indian had a very successful opening last month with over a quarter of a million visitors. This places the new museum in a comfortable middle position in regard to number of people who visit museums on the Mall in Washington, D.C. such as the National museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space museum, two of the most popular museums in the entire world.
At this rate, it is estimated that the American Indian museum may attract over four million tourists within its first year. Naturally, this is very good news for museum officials, who expected a steady turnout of a little under 9,000 people every day.
“This is exactly what we expected,” Carolyn Rapkevian, the deputy assistant director for public programs told the Associated Press.
As one could imagine, it’s often difficult for new museums to find their niche. According to A. Wilson Greene, executive director of Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg, Va., and a board member of the Institute for Museum and Library Services, it’s important for a new museum to have a buzz going among potential visitors.
“In general, museums are like movies. If they are well-publicized and meet with good feedback from the first people to see them, attendance tends to peak early in the release."
Many people feel like a museum for Native Americans is long overdue “I went to visit the museum the first week it opened,” said Bianca Baldridge 21. “The crowd was overwhelming, but I think everyone there felt proud and excited about it. It’s a great way to spend a weekend”.
All Smithsonian museums are free of charge..