Legislation Establishing NMAI Is Signed

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  • President George Herbert Walker Bush signs legislation (103 Stat 1336) to establish the National Museum of the American Indian, to be located on the National Mall between the National Air and Space Museum and the United States Capitol. The museum is scheduled to open in the mid- to late 1990's. The legislation also describes Smithsonian policy on the repatriation of American Indian human remains and associated funerary objects. The legislation also establishes the George Gustav Heye Center in the Alexander Hamilton Customs House in New York City and provides for a storage, conservation, and research facility at the Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.
  • Legislation for the NMAI was first proposed on September 25, 1987 by Senator Daniel Inouye from Hawaii. The bill (S.1722) did not pass. On May 11, 1989 Senator Inouye introduced S.978, which was the founding legislation for NMAI. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the Senator from Colorado, introduced companion legislation (H.R.2668) on June 15, 1989.


  • Bush, George 1924-
  • Inouye, Daniel K
  • Campbell, Ben Nighthorse
  • Alexander Hamilton Customs House
  • National Museum of the American Indian (U.S.) George Gustav Heye Center
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Museum Support Center
  • National Museum of the American Indian (U.S.)
  • United States President


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 98-015, Box 2, "The Torch," January 1990, p. 1.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1989. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990, p. 140-141.
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7098, "Robert McC. Adams Chronology."
  • NMAI Press Release, September 2005. "Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian Chronology."

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


November 28, 1989


  • Law
  • Architecture
  • Historians
  • Repatriation
  • Grounds
  • New Museums
  • Museums
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History
  • Buildings
  • Indians of North America--Museums
  • Legislation
  • Indians of North America

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