Vets don’t need a pass for this hard-to-visit D.C. museum
U.S. Navy photo by Arif Patani

By Amy Bushatz, and

If you’re hoping to visit the new African American museum in D.C., you better plan months in advance or be prepared to wait in really long lines — unless you’re a veteran or active duty service member.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016, requires that visitors who want to guarantee entry snag timed entry passes several months in advance. For example, the timed passes for July were snapped up just a few hours after they were released early this month. Visitors can also try to get same-day timed passes online starting at 6:30 a.m., or can try for a walk-up pass, which are released to visitors in-person starting at 1 p.m.

But veterans, active duty service members and first responders have a third option for themselves and one guest — simply showing their IDs at the door.

“We are honored to welcome veterans, active duty personnel and first responders to the museum. After showing their military, work ID or badge, veterans, active duty personnel and first responders may enter the museum and bring one guest with them for their visit,” the museum’s website says.

There is a caveat: entry is subject to building capacity. But if you can’t get tickets and are in town to visit the museum, it’s worth a shot.

According to the site only an active duty ID will do the trick — so that means military dependents need to be with their active duty member. And there is no information on exactly what kind of ID they want to see proving veteran status (a retiree ID card? DD-214?). Requests for clarification from the museum went unanswered.

Over 1.2 million people visited the museum in the first six months after its opening, and it’s only expected to get more busy over the summer, according to the Washington Post. Officials advise those who want to get in using a veteran or military ID to avoid top visit time.

“If the museum is at or nearing capacity, then all visitors, including veterans, active duty personnel and first responders, will be asked to wait until the museum has room to accommodate new visitors,” the site says. “Weekends and holidays are peak visitation times.”

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