Scavenger Hunts at The National Museum of
American History

  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • kids
  • indoor

The National Treasures Scavenger Hunt

If America had a giant attic…

…the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History would be it. On teams, you’ll follow clues through the galleries of this eclectic treasure trove, in search of answers to tricky, humorous questions about artifacts and memorabilia representing all eras and aspects of American life.

Along the way, you might discover…

  • The real color of Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz
  • A gadget Alexander Graham Bell built to save a president’s life (it failed)
  • A hunky, chunky “rock star” from 1620
  • The original Star-Spangled Banner and some “bombs bursting” on silver
  • Edison’s first bulb, a bizarre toaster, and other electrical innovations
  • Lincoln’s last top hat and Mary Lincoln’s bird feet
  • Julia Child’s kitchen, apparently plagued by elves

Plus, full-size locomotives, vintage cars, monstrous machines, and many more amazing artifacts. But you don’t have to be a historian to triumph—you just need good teamwork, sharp eyes, and comfortable shoes.

Great for group activities in D.C.

Since our first hunt at this museum in 2004, countless groups have boosted teamwork and morale on this hunt. Boost the team-building experience even more with the Mixed Alliances Edition, in which teams take turns working with other teams. You must collaborate and cooperate to win.

Young hunters can get in on the fun as well, with a Kids Edition suitable for ages 7 and up. It’s perfect for an unusual school field trip that even the chaperones will love, a birthday party that guests will be talking about for days, or an exciting summer-camp outing that the kids will write home about.

  • public
  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Murder at the Museum of American History Scavenger Hunt

Can you deduce who dunnit?

Someone—or some thing—has been bumping off staffers at the National Museum of American History who were involved in the discovery of a long-lost invention by Benjamin Franklin. This “infernal machine” has a murky past: Freemasons supposedly used it as part of a secret ritual. Were the deaths caused by the invention? Is the fabled Curse of the Freemasons real? Or is there a serial killer on the loose?

Your team of sleuths will have to crack a code and uncover the museum’s secrets to solve the mystery and stop the killings.

Along the way, you might also…

  • Peer into artificial eyes
  • Analyze a car wreck
  • Ride a Chicago train
  • Ponder an ancient priest who seems to sing “Y.M.C.A.”
  • Find out which common kitchen ingredient is explosive
  • Catch a nuclear football
  • Connect a Civil War sword with Sherman’s Bow Tie
  • And avoid stepping on a spying device disguised as poop

No previous knowledge is required to play—or to win. You just need sharp eyes, comfy shoes, and great teamwork.

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