NMHM exhibits are designed for self-guided visits at your own pace.

Guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more individuals, for students pre-K3 and up, and adults. Tour programs are tailored to suit the age and needs of the group. All tour programs and parking at the museum are free of charge. All groups of 10 or more individuals should schedule guided tours at least four weeks in advance.

General Tour

General tour (Grades 4 and up): This is an in-depth overview of the museum's permanent exhibits, including "Military Medicine: Challenges and Innovations," "Civil War Collections," "The Human Body: Anatomy and Pathology," and others.

Teacher's guides are available with activity suggestions, vocabulary, and a description of the tour for grades 4-8 and 9-12.

Approximate duration: 90 minutes. Tour limited to 40 students (and minimum 10 students).

Human Body Tour

Human Body Experience (Grades preK3-2nd): You and your students will explore the wonders of the human body, each of its systems, and the importance of how each system works. Your visit will consist of guided activities including holding plastinated anatomical specimens, followed by a self-guided tour of the museum's galleries. **The museum strongly recommends leaders visit the museum prior to bringing their students for the tour.**

A teacher's guide is available with activity suggestions, vocabulary, and a description of the tour.

Approximate duration: 60 minutes. Tour limited to 20 students (and minimum 10 students).

A Forensics Workshop

A Forensics Workshop (Grades 5 and up): After a museum docent introduces the science behind human identification of fallen unidentified service members, participants work in pairs or small groups to gather information about a set of bones, estimating age, sex, height, and evaluating trauma, dental profile, material evidence, and DNA. As a whole group, they then use the evidence and profiles of missing service members to determine whose remains they may have been examining.

A teacher's guide is available with activity suggestions, vocabulary, and a description of the tour.

Approximate duration: 60 minutes. Workshop limited to 30 students (and minimum 10 students).

Medical Museum Discovery Carts

Medical Museum Discovery Carts (all ages): Enhance your museum experience by interacting with one of the Medical Museum's Discovery Carts! These carts provide an instructional and fun, interactive experience for families and self-guided groups. Carts are dependent on guide availability.

Approximate duration: 15 minutes.

Docent assists student with putting on a pregnancy simulation vest

Empathy Belly™ Pregnancy Simulation (Grades 9 and up): During a hands-on demonstration, a museum docent will outfit one or two members of the group with The Empathy Belly™ to show how nine months of pregnancy impacts the human body. The Empathy Belly™ is a weighted "garment" that will enable female and male wearers to temporarily experience more than twenty of the typical symptoms and effects of pregnancy. This program is designed for teenagers and adults.

**Parental consent is required for participants age 18 and younger. Contact the museum for more information: 301-319-3312 or

Approximate duration: 60 minutes. Program limited to 35 students.

Using mini medic bag

Mini Medic Bags (Ages 3-7): Mini Medic Bags are available for loan to families or caregivers with children to enhance a self-guided tour of the museum. The bags are filled with activities to help you explore the museum and learn about the human body. Mini Medic Bags include puzzles, activities and tools to encourage discovery and hands-on exploration of the museum.

Ask for a bag at the museum's reception desk or call ahead to reserve one for your visit.

Mini Medic Bags are limited in number and are available free of charge; first come, first served.

Programs for Larger Groups


Introduction: This is an excellent way for groups to take advantage of the museum's exhibitions. A docent provides visitors with a brief overview of the history of the NMHM and its exhibits and allows participants to see and touch real plastinated human organs. After the presentation, the group may spend as much time as desired looking at the exhibits.

Teacher's guides are available with activity suggestions, vocabulary, and a description of the tour for grades 6-8 and 9-12.

Approximate duration: 20 minutes. The Introduction is recommended for groups of 10 to 50 individuals.

Student Discovery Guides

Student Discovery Guides (Grades 3 and up): To complement a museum visit, the Discovery Guides encourage visitors to take a closer look at museum objects and exhibits using critical thinking skills. Written at the upper elementary/middle school and the high school level, these guides help students/adults explore museum highlights. An answer key is NOT available for the guides.

Approximate duration: 30 minutes. We strongly encourage large groups to bring their own copy of the guides for their students.


Self-guided Tours: This experience allows visitors to tour the museum's exhibitions at their own pace. Visiting the NMHM in this fashion allows flexibility to concentrate on the specific interest and needs of the students/adults in the group. Please schedule all self-guided tours for groups so that we can help maintain optimal touring conditions. To enhance your self-guided visit, inquire about our Discovery Carts at the front desk.


NMHM offers a wide variety of special events and programs throughout the year. Programs are aimed at audiences of all ages; take place on weekends, weekdays, and evenings; and range in topic to include medical, scientific, and historical subjects. Visit the Events page or follow the museum on Facebook to learn more about special events. Call the museum's information desk at 301-319-3300 for information pertaining to public programs or to be placed on the museum's e-mail mailing list.

Making a Reservation

No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 10 individuals.

  • Make reservations for any of the tours or programs listed above four weeks in advance by emailing or calling 301-319-3312.
  • The museum requires a minimum of one adult chaperone (minimum age 18) for every ten students.
  • Allow 60 to 90 minutes for your visit.
  • There is no charge for guided tours or admission to the museum.
  • Teachers of younger students (pre-K3 to Grade 3) should preview the museum before scheduling a tour.
  • There is no limit on maximum group numbers for self-guided tours, but reservations are recommended to assure your group of 10 or more individuals receive the optimal touring conditions.
  • All guided tours and programs are provided by trained volunteer docents. If you must cancel a tour, please do so as soon as possible by calling the museum reception desk at 301-319-3300 and/or the Education Coordinator at 301-319-3312.
  • If your group is more than fifteen minutes late without a phone call, docents may not be available for your tour.

Visitor Services and Information

  • Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Dec. 25.
  • Bus drop-off is provided in front of the museum. Passenger vehicles may park in the museum parking lot.
  • Learn more about accessibility at NMHM. Call 301-319-3312 for more information or availability of resources.