Sept. 28: Status of Smithsonian Museums

September 28, 2020
News Release
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Seven of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, plus the National Zoo, are open to the public as of Friday, Sept. 25. These facilities reopened with new health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes to visit most locations.

Reopened Museums

All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed to the public. Updates will be available at

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) and other sources 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. 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.

Some exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity. Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites.

Timed-Entry Passes

Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass to enter most locations. Visitors can reserve passes online at or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. An individual will be able to 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.


Film crews and reporters should contact the individual museum’s press office to arrange on-site access.


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Linda St. Thomas

(202) 633-5188

Administrative News