The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC announced today that it will reopen eight of its venues to the public on a staggered schedule in May after a hiatus of more than five months. It is the second reopening after the initial closure in March 2020 due to Covid-19: between last July and October, the Smithsonian had previously reopened eight facilities before closing to the public again on 23 November amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
Visitors must reserve free timed-entry passes for all open locations and observe various safety restrictions such as mask-wearing and maintaining social distancing. Tours and events remain suspended.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, devoted to exhibits involving space flight, will reopen on 5 May. On 14 May the Smithsonian will greet visitors at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery branch.
The National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian (in Washington) and the National Zoo will reopen on 21 May.
Some exhibitions have been extended in view of the Covid-19 interruptions, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now, which was open for just three days in November before the institution closed for the second time. It will run from 14 May until 8 August.
Other Smithsonian art museums remain closed, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of African Art, and the National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center and the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, both in New York. Also shuttered are the National Air and Space Museum, Anacostia Community Museum, Arts and Industries Building, National Museum of Natural History, National Postal Museum, S. Dillon Ripley Center and Smithsonian Castle.
The National Gallery of Art meanwhile says that its West Building will reopen on 14 May with limited visitor capacity and timed ticketing. (It closed for a second time on 21 November.) The institution hopes to reopen its West Building in June, but in the meantime, it says, the public can view Kay Rosen’s Sorry, a temporary installation at its Fourth Street entrance.