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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will reopen to the public on Friday, Sep. 18. In light of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum will reopen with new standards that allow visitors to experience the museum in a more intimate setting. The guidelines include new hours of operation and enhanced safety measures that protect visitors and staff.  The museum will continue to require visitors to obtain free, timed-entry passes to enter.

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the museum,” said Spencer Crew, interim director of the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture. “We are taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, visitors and volunteers. As we continue to adjust our operations, we want to make sure we offer the best experience possible to everyone who enters our museum.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be closed on Mondays and Tuesday and open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. To protect the health of visitors and staff, the museum is limiting the number of passes to 250 per day during the initial weeks of reopening. The museum will increase the number of available passes the third week to 1,100 per day. During this time, the museum will not accommodate any walk-up visitors. Visitors will be required to obtain free, timed entry passes, available on the museum’s website at nmaahc.si.edu/visit/passes.

The museum has implemented enhanced safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Government of the District of Columbia sources to include:

  • Requesting that all visitors who are sick, do not feel well or have any symptoms related to COVID-19 to stay home.
  • Requiring that visitors ages six and older wear face coverings during their visit. Face coverings are also strongly recommended for visitors between the ages of two and six, according to CDC guidelines. Visitors are asked to bring masks with them to the museum. The museum will not provide masks for visitors. Face shields are not permitted as a substitute for a face covering but may be worn over a face covering or mask. Face coverings or masks with an exhalation valve are not permitted.
  • Limiting the number of people entering the facility by requiring all visitors to obtain a free, timed-entry pass in advance of their visit.
  • Implementing safe social distancing measures, including some one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate.
  • Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning protocols.
  • Establishing maximum capacity limits for restrooms, closing off alternate sinks or stalls and conducting enhanced cleaning.

The museum’s restrooms will be open. However, the museum’s gift shop and restaurant, “Sweet Home Café,” will remain closed until further notice.

As a precautionary measure, all on-site docent-led public tours and events are suspended until further notice. Some exhibitions, videos and interactives may be closed or operate at limited capacity. To plan your trip to the museum, visit NMAAHC.si.edu.  Updates on access rules and the operating status of other Smithsonian museums can be found at www.SI.edu/visit.

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