Citysearch Editorial Review.
The 16th museum to join the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian was established by an act of Congress in 1989 and is the first in this country established for the preservation and study of Native American cultures. The collections include more than 800,000 works and represent nearly all tribes in the United States and Canada, as well as some in Central and South America. The museum structure itself is nearly a work of art, from the multi-story atrium inside to the ponds and fountains that surround it. Its Mitsitam Cafe, serving authentic native foods from the western hemisphere, continues to be a lunchtime dining destination in its own right.