National Museum of the American Indian

  • Caption
    View of Exterior - Detail
Related people
Douglas J. Cardinal (was created by)
Johnpaul Jones (architect)
GBQC Architects (architect)
1993-2004 (creation)
North and Central America->United States->District of Columbia->Washington
"The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is located on the National Mall at 4th Street and Independence Avenue. The museum's galleries and display spaces house both permanent and temporary exhibitions. In addition, the building houses two theaters; a central gathering place and entrance called the Potomac, which is covered by a rotunda 120 feet in diameter and 120 feet to the top of the dome; a "Welcome Wall" with projected words meaning "welcome" in Native languages from throughout the Americas on a 23-foot screen; a cafe, two museum stores and a resource center, which serves as a public reference area." - Submitted by Goldie Ludovici.
The NMAI on the National Mall opened in September 2004. Fifteen years in the making, it is the first national museum in the country dedicated exclusively to Native Americans. The five-story, 250,000-square-foot, curvilinear building is clad in a golden-colored Kasota limestone from Minnesota that is designed to evoke natural rock formations that have been shaped by wind and water over thousands of years. Other materials used in the construction of the museum include American-mist granite, maple, adzed cedar, bronze, copper, adzed alder and imperial plaster. Also at the site and incorporated in the landscape are 20-30 large boulders, called the "grandfather rocks."
The museum is set in a 4.25-acre site and is surrounded by simulated wetlands. The museum's east-facing entrance, its prism window and its 120-foot-high space for contemporary Native performances are direct results of extensive consultations with Native peoples. The museum's architect and project designer is the Canadian Douglas Cardinal (Blackfoot); its design architects are GBQC Architects of Philadelphia and architect Johnpaul Jones (Cherokee/Choctaw). Disagreements during construction led to Cardinal being removed from the project, but the building retains his original design intent, and his continued input enabled its completion. The museum's project architects are Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects Ltd. of Seattle and SmithGroup of Washington, D.C., in association with Lou Weller (Caddo), the Native American Design Collaborative, and Polshek Partnership Architects of New York City; Ramona Sakiestewa (Hopi) and Donna House (Navajo/Oneida) also served as design consultants. The landscape architects are Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects Ltd. of Seattle and EDAW Inc., of Alexandria, Virginia. - Reference

Keywords: United States, District of Columbia, Washington, exhibitions, exhibition structures, buildings, interior views, interior spaces, display case.
Modernist (AAT)