Smithsonian museums shift to new schedule due to staff shortage

The D.C. region’s Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are shifting to a new schedule for the foreseeable future amid pandemic-related staffing limitations.

Effective Tuesday, many of the Smithsonian’s most popular attractions — including 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. Most of its museums will remain open on weekends.

The National Air and Space Museum, National Postal Museum and Anacostia Community Museum are closed until further notice.

See the full list of schedule changes by museum.

The newly-implemented schedule follows a temporary change made earlier this month in anticipation of staffing shortfalls due to a regional surge in coronavirus cases.

“Smithsonian leadership evaluated operations, staffing needs and public visitation patterns during these two weeks,” the Smithsonian Institution said in a news release. “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.”

Museums may have limited public entrances during opening hours. Some exhibition spaces may be closed, and the Smithsonian recommends visitors check ahead for changes by visiting each museum’s website.

Administrators said they will continue to assess staffing levels and make adjustments as needed.

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Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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