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Smithsonian To Reopen Four Additional Museums on Friday

September 15, 2020 by Dan McCue
Smithsonian To Reopen Four Additional Museums on Friday
Smithsonian Institution. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian Institution announced Monday that it will reopen four more of its Washington, D.C., museums to the public on Friday, with new health and safety measures in place due to ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The facilities slated for reopening Friday are the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall; the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, both located at Eighth and G Streets N.W.; and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum near the White House.

All will have reduced days or hours of operation, and visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes to visit most locations.

The new safety measures being implemented are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They include:


  • Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home;
  • Requiring that visitors ages 6 and older wear face coverings during their visit. Face coverings are strongly recommended for visitors ages 2 and older;
  • For the safety of visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited, and at least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children under the age of 18;
  • Closely monitoring and limiting the number of people in each museum. Most locations will require visitors to obtain a free timed-entry pass in advance of their visit. Visitors can reserve passes online or by phone and select the desired date and time for their visit;
  • Implementing safe social distancing, including one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate;
  • Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning throughout all facilities;
  • Establishing maximum capacity for restrooms to accommodate safe social distancing.

Museum cafes and retail shops will not be open. In addition, all on-site public tours and events will remain suspended. Some exhibits, galleries, theaters or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity. Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites.


Museum Hours

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Open Wednesday to Sunday with reduced hours of operation, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum: Open Wednesday to Sunday for its regular hours of operation, 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Visitors will enter and exit through the G Street entrance.

Renwick Gallery: Open Wednesday to Sunday for its regular hours of operation, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Reopening the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution temporarily closed all of its museums and the National Zoo on March 14 to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.


The Smithsonian began a phased reopening of its facilities on July 14, with the reopening of the zoo and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

On Aug. 17, the Smithsonian reopened its gardens. All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed to the public, and the Institution said it is not announcing additional reopening dates at this time.

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