The confusion begins with the entrance to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, a soaring, curving stone building at the southeastern corner of the Mall.
The entrance faces east — a symbolic nod to the many Native Americans who orient their homes to the east and the rising sun — but that makes it difficult for visitors coming from the Mall or Metro to find their way in, and entering through the back door diminishes the dramatic effect of the Potomac Atrium .
The two major exhibitions on the upper floors are similarly confounding. “Our Lives” celebrates the survival of the dispossessed without chronicling the policies and battles that brought them close to extinction, while “Our Universes” spotlights the creation myths of seven nations without drawing any connections or contrasts between them.
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