National Museum of the American Indian Image
Washington, District of Columbia, United States

National Museum of the American Indian

Lendlease provided preconstruction and construction management services for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) at the National Mall in Washington, DC under a Construction Management term contract with the Smithsonian Institution. 

National Museum of the American Indian

The Smithsonian Institution

Washington, District of Columbia, United States


230,000 square feet

Preconstruction, Construction Management

Polshek Partnership Architects LLP Tobey + Davis

Project vision

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. Established by an Act of Congress in 1989, the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.

The museum's collections span more than 10,000 years of Native heritage, from ancient stone Clovis points to modern silkscreen prints. About 70 percent of the one million objects in the collections represent cultures in the United States and Canada; 30 percent represent cultures in Mexico and Central and South America.

The NMAI is located on the last available site on the Mall— between the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol Building. It will be across the Mall from the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.

The building is designed to present the past and present achievements of Native Americans through exhibitions, ceremonial performances, and conferences. The museum also includes indoor and outdoor public spaces, as well as work spaces for NMAI staff associated with the museum’s public programs and collections.

The base building includes over 230,000 square feet and is being constructed in three phases followed by phased installation of exhibitions under separate design and construction contracts.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place in September 1999. Public dedication and occupancy took place in Spring of 2004.