October 2014
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Group Visits and Custom Tours


Keep in mind that filling out a request for a group visit, custom tour, or custom Discovery cart is not a confirmation of a reservation. If we are able to schedule your request you will receive an invoice and schedule within the next few business days. If we are unable to schedule your request we will call or email you to discuss other possibilities. For further information or questions about group visits, custom tours, or custom Discovery Carts beyond the descriptions on this page, email tours@nbm.org.

Click here to book a Group Visit or Custom Tour.

Unless you have also scheduled a docent-led tour, no tour guide will meet your group to guide you through the Museum. Reservations need to be made at least three weeks in advance and payment is due at least two weeks prior to your visit.

Group Rates

Group rates are available for groups of ten people or more by making a reservation. The group fee is $5 per person of which includes admission to all of the Museum's exhibitions (occasional time restrictions may apply). 

School Groups (K–12)

School Group Visits
School groups consisting of ten people or more who wish to enjoy the Museum's exhibitions with or without a tour or Discovery Cart are qualified for the group rate by making a reservation. School groups receive an additional discount of one free ticket per five students to help accommodate the required chaperones. We strongly suggest a 5:1 ratio of children to adults with grades Pre-K to 3rd and a 10:1 ratio of children to adults grades 4th to 12th. 

PLAY WORK BUILD
For groups interested in participating in the interactive exhibition PLAY WORK BUILD, please be sure to indicate so when asked during the reservation process. This is so we can be sure your group will not be in the exhibition at the same time as too many other school groups, ensuring that your group will get to enjoy the exhibition to its full potential.

Building Zone
For groups interested in participating in the interactive exhibition Building Zone which is geared for 2 to 6-year-olds, please be advised that it is a timed entry, it is first come first served (this CANNOT be reserved ahead of time), and if the space is available only 15 persons (children and adults) per group may enter per timed entry.

Visit the School Programs page for other great program options for K–12 groups. For Scout and Youth groups visit the Scout and Youth Groups page for other great programs the National Building Museum provides.

Custom Tours and Discovery Carts

Custom tours and custom Discovery Carts are led by trained and knowledgeable docents and provide in-depth knowledge about the National Building Museum's exhibitions, the historic building, and interactive explanations of building materials and building methods.

Custom Tour and Discovery Cart Offerings 

Historic Building Tour
Learn the history of the National Building Museum's historic home, the former Pension Building, when you take this docent-led historic building tour. Can be booked without paying admission to the exhibitions, but requires the docent fee. This tour takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, maximum of 25 people per tour, and is $35 per tour.

House & Home Tour
Explore the architecture of everyday life and learn about different construction techniques, see some of America's most iconic homes, and revisit home goods from yesterday and today. Your docent will share some of the highlights of this extensive exhibition, sharing interesting information and stories. Can be adapted for pre-K to 12th grades. Requires purchase of admissions tickets as well as the docent fee. This tour takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, maximum of 20 people per tour, and is $35 per tour plus the price of admissions.

Designing for Disaster Tour
Examine how we assess risks from natural hazards and how we can create policies, plans, and designs yielding safer, more disaster-resilient communities. Your docent will share some of the highlights of this exhibition, sharing interesting information and stories. Can be adapted for pre-K to 12th grades. Requires purchase of admissions tickets as well as the docent fee. This tour takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, maximum of 20 people per tour, and is $35 per tour plus the price of admissions.

Bridging the Gap Discovery Cart
During this interactive demonstration, participants learn about basic forces that impact structures, the five different types of bridges and their advantages and disadvantages, and how bridges are applied in real world situations. This 30 to 45 minute hands-on interactive program can be booked without paying for admissions tickets to the exhibitions, but requires the docent fee. Appropriate for children ages 5 and older. This Discovery Cart takes 30 to 45, maximum of 25 children per Discovery Cart, and is $35 per Discovery Cart.

Arches and Trusses Discovery Cart
Discover how building forces, materials, and structures affect strength and longevity. Participants test different building materials and work together to build an arch. This 30 to 45 minute hands-on interactive program can be booked without paying for admissions tickets to the exhibitions, but requires the docent fee. Appropriate for children ages 5 and older. This Discovery Cart takes 30 to 45, maximum of 25 children per Discovery Cart, and is $35 per Discovery Cart.

The Three Little Pigs Build a House Discovery Cart
This 30 to 45 minute, hands-on, interactive program and storybook reading will teach children about the basic components for a house and a variety of materials. This program can be booked without paying for admissions tickets to the exhibitions, but requires the docent fee. Appropriate for children ages 3–5. This Discovery Cart takes 30 to 45, maximum of 25 children per Discovery Cart, and is $35 per Discovery Cart.

Inaugural Ball Tour
Learn about the Pension Building's connection to the Presidential Inaugural Balls. Your docent will share the pageantry and history of these festive events. Requires purchase of admission as well as the docent fee. This tour takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, maximum of 25 people per tour, and is $35 per tour.

Special Custom Tours

Curator Led Tours
Share in the expertise and behind-the-scenes knowledge of one of the National Building Museum’s curators. This tour takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, maximum of 20 people per tour, and is $300 per tour (includes admissions to the exhibitions).

After Hours Tours
Available on a limited basis, please contact the tour office for details.

Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel your group or custom tour, please contact the tour office at 202.272.2448, ext. 3302 or tours@nbm.org as soon as possible. If you must cancel your tour on the day of, please contact the Information Desk at 202.272.2448, ext. 3901. Any cancellation less than one week prior to the tour date forfeits all fees. In the event that the Museum must cancel a tour, the full fee will be refunded or the tour will be rescheduled. To be eligible for a refund or to reschedule your visit, the Museum must receive written notification no later than one week prior to the visit date. If a school or organization's administration cancels a field trip less than one week before the scheduled trip due to a change in policy, a letter from the principal or leader indicating the change in policy will be required to receive a refund or to reschedule the canceled visit. If a school or organization closes due to inclement weather or cancels field trips on short notice the Museum will reschedule the visit or provide a full refund.


Questions? Contact the group tour office at tours@nbm.org.