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Smithsonian to Reopen Seven Museums, National Zoo in May

April 26, 2021 by TWN Staff
Smithsonian Institution. (Photo by Dan McCue)

The Smithsonian Institution will reopen seven of its museums and the National Zoon in May.

The revival of the museums will begin on Wednesday, May 5, with the reopening of the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., and will continue on May 14 and May 21, with the reopening of additional facilities.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery will all open on May 14.

While the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. and the National Zoo will open May 21.

All of the locations will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All other Smithsonian museums will continnued to remain closed to the public in the near term. 

To protect the health of visitors and staff, safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources will include: 

  • Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home.;
  • Requiring visitors ages 2 and older to wear face coverings during their visit.;
  • Closely monitoring and limiting the number of people in each location. Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass in advance of 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; and 
  • Museum cafes will not be open at this time. Restaurants and food trucks at the National Zoo will be open. 

All on-site public tours and events are temporarily suspended. Some exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters, retail shops or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity. Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites. 

Museum Hours and Information 

Some locations will open with reduced hours of operation. 

·         National Zoo: open daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Timed-Entry Passes 

Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass for each location. Beginning today, April 23, visitors can reserve passes for the Udvar-Hazy Center. Passes for other locations will become available starting a week before their scheduled openings. Visitors driving to the Zoo who wish to park must purchase parking in advance as well. Visitors can reserve passes online at si.edu/visit or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. 

An individual will be able to reserve up to six passes per day for a specific location. Each visitor must have a pass, regardless of age. Visitors can choose to print timed-entry passes at home or show a digital timed-entry pass on their mobile device. 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. 

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