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 www.americanindian.si.edu or www.tickets.com, or by phone at 866-400-6624 (service charges added).
-- Scott W. Berg