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The National Museum of American Indian is a one-of-a-kind art facility found in Washington D.C. It was inaugurated on September 21, 2004 as United States? first museum to pay tribute to American Indians. It is managed and operated by the Smithsonian Institution and is committed in showcasing the history, literature, arts, languages and life of the indigenous Americans who lived in this side of the world. Its extensive collection is lodged in a magnificent building made of limestone which resembles humongous desert rocks and reflects the closeness of the American Indians? way of life with nature.

The concept of creating a museum to pay homage to American Indians was put forward by the Congress in 1989. The acclaimed Smithsonian Museum was directed to come up with the museum and by 2004, the National Museum of American Indian broke ground in another Washington landmark, the National Mall. Together with the museum, its two sister facilities, the George Gustav Heye Center in Manhattan and a research and collections arm in Maryland were also opened.

Since the National Museum of the American Indian is a pioneering art facility of its kind, a lot of time was spent in creating the blueprint of the museum structure. The architecture and design of the museum was the product of great thinking from Douglas Cardinal who is a Blackfoot Indian hailing from Canada. Cardinal collaborated with another architect who is also an Indian descent, John Paul Jones who belongs to the Cherokee and Choctaw tribes. The exterior of the National Museum of American Indian is truly unique featuring a five-level building with a curvilinear fa?ade, almost like the Guggenheim Museum. It is cladded with Kasota limestone with a tan hue sourced from southern Minnesota. The museum stands on a 4.25-acre plot of land amid artificial wetlands.

The National Museum of American Indian features sprawling galleries which house both temporary and permanent displays that depict the lifestyle and heritage of American Indians and other Indian groups who lived in North America. Three of the most notable permanent exhibits here are: Our Lives which explores the Natives and how their culture has progressed in the 21st century; Our Peoples which offers a glimpse at the episodes which influenced the way of living of the Native tribes; and Our Universe which provides a glimpse at how the Natives? science of cosmology. Aside from these exhibits, there are also several venues within the museum where guests can take part in live exhibitions and other special happenings. Near the entryway of the museum is The Potomac which has an expansive rotunda which is an ideal setting for many social gatherings.

The museum?s Main Theatre, located on its ground floor, is often utilized for music and dance shows, film screenings, storytelling, stage plays, as well as seminars and lectures. The Lelawi Theatre on the other hand gives visitors a multi-media preamble on what?s in store for them inside the museum and aids them in appreciating the museums mission and vision.

After roaming around, hungry art buffs can quench their thirst and satiate their hunger at the Mitsitam Caf?. In line with the museum thrust, its menu features fares which showcase the native flavors of America.
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