Fodor's Expert Review National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution)
Massive granite columns rise to a pediment topped by a double row of statues at the impressive Beaux-Arts Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House (1907), which is home to the New York branch of this Smithsonian museum (the other branch is in Washington, D.C.). Inside, the oval stairwell and rotunda embellished with shipping-theme murals (completed in the 1930s) are worth a long pause. The permanent exhibition, Infinity of Nations, is an encyclopedic survey of Native American cultures from across the continent, with the entire museum preserving more than 825,000 art pieces and artifacts dating from ancient to modern times. The venue presents changing exhibitions, videos and films, dance, music, and storytelling programs.