Smithsonian reopens four additional museums

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Smithsonian reopened four more of its Washington, D.C., museums to the public today: the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Safety Measures

To protect the health of visitors and staff, new safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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, per CDC guidelines.
  • 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. Beginning today, 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 remain closed, including the Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Courtyard Café in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. All on-site public tours and events are also temporarily suspended. In addition, some exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity.

Museum Hours

Timed-Entry Passes

Visitors need to obtain a free timed-entry pass to enter the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The Renwick Gallery does not require timed-entry passes because it can accommodate safe crowd management and social distancing for the number of visitors permitted at one time.

Visitors can reserve passes online at or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. An individual may reserve up to six passes. 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.

Reopening the Smithsonian

All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo temporarily closed to the public March 14 to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Smithsonian reopened its first two locations July 24: the National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. On Aug. 17, the Smithsonian reopened its gardens. Today’s reopening of these next four museums continues a gradual, phased reopening process for the Institution.

All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed to the public, and the Institution is not announcing additional reopening dates at this time. Updates will be available at

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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