Smithsonian To Fully Reopen Museums

10 Museums in Washington, D.C., and New York City To Open Between June 10 and Aug. 27
May 26, 2021
News Release

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Smithsonian Castle at dusk

The Smithsonian will reopen 10 of its museums throughout the summer, marking a full reopening of the Smithsonian since closing to the public in March 2020. These locations will open on a staggered schedule from June through August. All museums will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many with reduced hours of operation. Visitors will need to reserve free, timed-entry passes for most locations.

Reopening Schedule 

Thursday, June 10        Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City
Friday, June 18             National Museum of Natural History
Wednesday, June 23    National Museum of the American Indian in New York City
Friday, July 16               National Museum of African Art
                                      National Museum of Asian Art Freer Gallery
Friday, July 30               National Air and Space Museum
                                      Smithsonian Institution Building (the “Castle”)
Friday, Aug. 6                Anacostia Community Museum
Friday, Aug. 20              Hirshhorn Museum (Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden remains open)
Friday, Aug. 27              National Postal Museum

* In November, the historic Arts and Industries Building will open to the public for the first time since 2004 with a new exhibition, “FUTURES,” in honor of the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary.

Safety Measures 

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

  • Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home. 
  • Requiring all visitors ages 2 and older to wear face coverings during their visit. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a face covering in outdoor spaces.   
  • Closely monitoring and limiting the number of people in each location. Visitors may 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. 

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

Museum Hours and Information 

Timed-Entry Passes 

Visitors will need to obtain a free, timed-entry pass for most museums. The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Postal Museum will not require timed-entry passes. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which typically charges for entry, will offer free tickets through Oct. 31. Visitors can reserve free, timed-entry tickets in advance on the museum’s website at

Timed-entry passes will be required for all other museums and will become available one week before the museum’s scheduled opening. An individual will be able to reserve up to six passes per day for a specific location. Visitors can reserve passes online at or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. 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 

The Smithsonian closed its museums in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between July and October 2020, the Smithsonian opened eight of its facilities before closing to the public again Nov. 23, 2020. The Smithsonian began a phased reopening of its museums May 5. Updates and information about the museums open to the public are available at  

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Alexandria Fairchild

(202) 633-0282

Linda St. Thomas

(202) 633-5188