FACTS & FIGURES from the Grand Opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian:
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., opened its doors to the public on Sept. 21, 2004.
The National Museum of the American Indian is the first national museum in the country dedicated exclusively to American Indians. Native peoples have played and will continue to play an integral role in co-curating exhibitions and coordinating public programs. Located near the U.S. Capitol, the museum occupies the last space on the National Mall and is the 18th Smithsonian museum.
OPENING WEEK FIGURES:
More than 100,000 people visited the museum during the first week (Tuesday, Sept. 21 Tuesday, Sept. 28). Opening day alone brought more than 80,000 people to the Mall, which included about 25,000 in the Native Nations Procession.
The National Museum of the American Indian remained open all night long on opening day, and as a result, more than 27,000 people visited. The museum set a Smithsonian record with more than $1 million in sales at the two museum stores.
The six-day, outdoor First Americans Festival during the museum’s opening week attracted an estimated 600,000 visitors to the National Mall, with many returning a second time.
Native Nations Procession Opening day began with a Native Nations Procession the largest gathering of Native peoples in modern history, in which participants walked from the Smithsonian Institution Building (the “Castle”) along the National Mall toward the U.S. Capitol.
More than 25,000 Native Americans from more than 500 tribes and Native communities from throughout North, Central and South America and other supporters, participated in this historical event. Many participants wore traditional regalia and came from as far north as Alaska to as far south as Chile.
The opening ceremony began with a presentation of the colors by the Hopi Honor Guard in honor of Pfc. Lori A. Piestewa (Hopi), who was the first Native American servicewoman to give her life in overseas combat.
A flag song was performed by Black Eagle, a popular drum group from the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico. Remarks were delivered by Secretary Lawrence M. Small of the Smithsonian Institution, President Alejandro Toledo (Quechua) of Peru, Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) of Colorado and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who introduced the legislation in 1989 that created the museum, and founding director W. Richard West Jr. (Southern Cheyenne).
Copies of remarks by Small and West are available online in the Grand Opening Press Kit at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu. (Enter the main Web site, then select “Press,” followed by “Grand Opening Press Kit.”)
Images from the Native Nations Procession, Opening Ceremony and First Americans Festival are available through the museum’s Web site www.AmericanIndian.si.edu, the Smithsonian News Desk at http://188.8.131.52 and ftp://184.108.40.206/opa. The ftp site also contains exterior and interior images of the museum and objects from the museum’s current exhibitions.