The Landscape Architect’s Guide to

Washington, D.C.

The National Mall & Memorial Parks

National Museum of the American Indian

Your Guide
Skip Graffam, ASLA

The gardens of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) offer an immersive landscape experience that is unlike any other site on the National Mall. Designed through a collaboration of architects, landscape architects from EDAW (now AECOM), ethnobotanists, and artists, the site serves as both an extension of the museum’s rich collection of cultural and symbolic artifacts and as an expression of living indigenous cultures of the Western Hemisphere. The plantings showcase the four pre-European settlement native ecosystems of forest, meadow, wetland, and cropland, and I am always amazed by the range of accompanying sensory experiences. The NMAI gardens represent a dynamic landscape, responsive to the seasons and reflecting the close connection between indigenous cultures and the land.


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