The Smithsonian expects overwhelming interest in the new museum during its first week and beyond. A system of timed passes, similar to that used at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, will be used for the foreseeable future, but that won't help you much on Tuesday -- advance passes are no longer available for the first three days and are going fast for next weekend as well. If you're willing to wait in what promises to be a long line, though, a large but limited number of same-day passes will be distributed at 9 each morning (at 7 on Wednesday) until Sept. 27, when the distribution time will change permanently to 10.

On Tuesday, at least, there is a third option: The museum is remaining open overnight, and from midnight to 7 a.m. Wednesday passes will not be required. (Having few other overnight openings to use as a reference, the museum is hedging its bet. Should a crush form outside, employees will distribute timed passes to those in line.)

Passes for later in the week and beyond can be obtained through or, or by phone at 866-400-6624 (service charges added).

-- Scott W. Berg