WASHINGTON — It has been nearly six months without any guests, but the Smithsonian has reopened two additional museums.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Renwick Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum opened their doors on September 18. Two more museums opened to the public on September 25, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of the American Indian, both located on the National Mall.
Spencer Crew, the Interim Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said the phased reopening also comes with some changes made for safety.
One change you will see at the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the number of people allowed inside the museum at one time. In the past, they would typically issue about 4,000 visitor tickets on a normal day. Because of COVID-19, they are limiting the number to 250 tickets for at least the first week.
"We are very excited about the return of our visitors. We love having them as much as they love coming. We are looking forward to the reunion so to speak and making sure they have a good experience when they come to the museum," said Interim Director Spencer Crew.
Another change you will see is that some of the interactive exhibits that you usually touch will remain closed for now.
"A lot of the things we have to share with them will still be operating but those activities where people might tend to cluster or have to touch things will probably not be operating like they were previously," said Crew.
The four museums will also require face masks for all visitors six years and older.
Interim Director Spencer Crew said one benefit to this season has been the expansion of online exhibits and activities.
"One of the things that did happen since March is that we've done a lot more in terms of having online experiences for our visitors. We had a changed exhibition on World War 1 and African-American soldiers that we really put online as a way for people to interact with the museums. We also have a wealth of other activities online that people can access as well," said Crew.
After six months, Crew said they are prepared for reopening and ready to safely welcome visitors back.
"We think we have good information to share with them, good experiences and good learning and we are glad to be open again and have the chance to share that information and that experience with our visitors," said Crew.
New Museum Hours:
The new hours for the four museums reopening this Friday are as follows:
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: Open Wednesday to Sunday with reduced hours of operation, 11 a.m. to 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. to 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, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- National Museum of American History: Open Friday through Tuesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- National Museum of the American Indian: Open Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Back in July, The National Zoo and The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly opened their doors to the public after months of being closed due to coronavirus.
The two locations were chosen to re-open first "based on factors such as the ability to facilitate crowd management and social distancing, the ability to maintain a hygienic environment, and availability of parking."