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Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum Reopened Friday After Pandemic Closure


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History reopened its doors to visitors on Friday, June 18, after remaining closed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The museum now operates with limited hours — 11 am to 4 pm, Wednesdays through Sundays — and requires free timed-entry passes. However, some of the exhibits, the cafes and stores are still closed.

Entry to the museum is limited to the National Mall entrance and all visitors are required to exit the museum via Constitution Avenue.

Among the new health and safety procedures in place at the museum are:

  • Visitors ages two and older must wear face coverings — even if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Groups (or members of the same household) must maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet from others at all times. The museum has also established one-way paths and directional guidance to help people better social distance.
  • Groups larger than six are prohibited, and the number of people in the museum, galleries, restrooms, and elevators is also limited to allow for safe social distancing.
  • Hand-sanitizer stations are available all around the museum’s facilities, which are regularly cleaned.
  • The museum encourages visitors to limit the number of personal belongings and bags that they bring along as there will be a thorough search at security checkpoints.

To view further details on how to visit the museum, click here.

The museum is still offering virtual tours for those who wish to have the experience from the comfort of their home. Click here for the “self-guided, room-by-room tours.”

Other facilities of the Smithsonian Institution that are preparing to open in the coming weeks include the National Museum of African Art (July 16), the National Museum of Asian Art Freer Gallery (July 16), the National Air and Space Museum (July 30), the Smithsonian Castle (July 30), the Anacostia Community Museum (August 6), the Hirshhorn Museum (August 20), and the National Postal Museum (August 27).

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