National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. to Reopen May 21

The National Native American Veterans Memorial at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
The National Native American Veterans Memorial at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is scheduled to reopen Friday, May 21, 2021. The new hours are Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.­–4 p.m. New health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be observed including timed-entry passes, limiting attendance, social distancing, mandatory use of face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. For more information find details on the NMAI website.

“The decision to reopen these facilities was made carefully and with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of our staff and visitors. We have been closely monitoring the landscape in our region and receiving guidance from government agencies and public health experts, said Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch. “We have come a long way since closing to the public early last year. Moving forward, we will continue to apply lessons learned, listen to the concerns of frontline staff and visitors, and make adjustments along the way. When our museums temporarily reopened last summer, the safety measures we put in place were effective, and we did not experience any cases of COVID-19 transmission between our employees and visitors.”

Seven museums and the National Zoo are scheduled to reopen in May. All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed.

Reopening Schedule

Wednesday, May 5

  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Friday, May 14

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery

Friday, May 21

  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C., location)
  • National Zoo

Museum Hours and Information

These locations will open with reduced hours of operation.

Safety Measures

To protect the health of visitors and staff, safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources will include:

  • Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home.
  • Requiring visitors ages 2 and older to wear face coverings during their visit.
  • Closely monitoring and limiting the number of people in each location. Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass in advance of their visit.
  • Implementing safe social distancing, including one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate.
  • Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning throughout all facilities.
  • Museum cafes will not be open at this time. Restaurants and food trucks at the National Zoo will be open.

All on-site public tours and events are temporarily suspended. Some exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters, retail shops or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity. Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites.

Timed-Entry Passes

Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass for each location. Beginning today, April 23, visitors can reserve passes for the Udvar-Hazy Center. Passes for other locations will become available starting a week before their scheduled openings. Visitors driving to the Zoo who wish to park must purchase parking in advance as well. Visitors can reserve passes online at si.edu/visit or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1.

An individual will be able to reserve up to six passes per day for a specific location. Each visitor must have a pass, regardless of age. Visitors can choose to print timed-entry passes at home or show a digital timed-entry pass on their mobile device. For the safety of visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited, and at least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children under the age of 18.

Reopening the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian closed its museums in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between July and October 2020, the Smithsonian opened eight of its facilities before closing to the public again Nov. 23. The reopening of these eight locations is the beginning of a phased reopening process for the Institution. All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed to the public, and the Institution is not announcing additional reopening dates at this time. Updates and information about the museums open to the public are available at si.edu/visit. 

Dennis W. Zotigh (Kiowa/San Juan Pueblo/Santee Dakota Indian) is a member of the Kiowa Gourd Clan and San Juan Pueblo Winter Clan and a descendant of Sitting Bear and No Retreat, both principal war chiefs of the Kiowas. Dennis works as a writer and cultural specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

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