4 Smithsonian museums to reopen in DC with conditions

Smithsonian African American Museum
FILE — This Sept. 14, 2016, photo, shows the exterior of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, before the museum opened. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Four Smithsonian museums in D.C. will reopen to the public on Friday for the first time since closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

These are the museums reopening, and their times:

Visitors need to sign up for free phased entry tickets, which can be booked online or by phone by calling 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. These passes are part of an effort to reduce the number of people inside the buildings at one time.

Visitors ages 6 and up will be required to wear face coverings during their visit.

The museum cafes, shops and public gathering areas will not be open.

National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet told WTOP that she and her staff are excited to see visitors again.

“I feel that we’re very much a local museum, and we’re looking forward to seeing our friends walk in the door on Friday,” she said.

The National Portrait Gallery, formerly the national patent office, is the third-oldest building in D.C., and based on the Parthenon in Greece, Sajet said.

During the closure, the museum received a portrait of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia.

In addition to the Lewis portrait, Sajet said the museum’s newest exhibition is set to debut Friday, called Her Story: A Century of Women Writers, which shows portraits of well-known women authors.

Visitors can reserve a free ticket in advance using the etix system. The system currently shows plenty of tickets available for Friday.

“We want to keep everyone safe; we want to make sure you have really enjoyable time,” Sajet said.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. 

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for USATODAY.com, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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