Smithsonian announces new schedule, closures amid staff shortage

Smithsonian museums in the D.C. area and the National Zoo will shift to a new schedule on Tuesday until further notice.

In a statement released Friday, the Smithsonian said its most popular attractions, such as the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will be open five days a week, and most museums will stay open on weekends, though other museums will continue with shortened hours.

This follows schedule changes released last week by the organization, set through Monday. The amendments outlined reduced days and hours of operation for several museums, implemented in anticipation of COVID-related staff shortages.

According to the statement, “This newly modified schedule reflects the continued need to reduce operations due to ongoing staff shortages while accommodating the needs of the public by opening more museums on weekends.”

Starting Tuesday, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, and the Smithsonian Institution Building, known as “The Castle,” will be open seven days a week. The National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will be open five days a week. Other museums in D.C. and the National Zoo will adopt a Thursday to Sunday schedule.

The National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, the National Postal Museum and the Anacostia Community Museum will be closed to the public until further notice.

The Smithsonian said the new schedule allows them to move key staff across its museums as needed, while offering the public more opportunities to visit its museums.

In addition to changes in hours and days of operation, the Smithsonian said museums may have limited public entrances, and some exhibition spaces may be closed.

The Smithsonian recommends checking the specific museum website for the most updated information about visiting hours, days and exhibitions.

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.

Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is an Associate Producer at WTOP. She is a senior student at the University of Maryland, having written for a variety of campus publications and as a reporter at the campus radio station, WMUC 88.1. She began as an intern with WTOP in the summer of 2021.

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