The Smithsonian Institution announced today that its 19 museums in Washington D.C., the National Zoo and two New York museums, the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the American Indian Museum’s Heye Center, will officially closed their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak starting Saturday, March 14. Museum staff and administrators were also asked to work from home.
In an official statement, the Institution declared that the "health and safety of Smithsonian visitors, staff and volunteers is top priority." A reopening date was not announced and the statement said that officials will provide updates on a week-to-week basis, asking visitors to check its websites, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter messages.
This decision was made in an effort to limit large gatherings of people, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and New York City escalate. Zoo officials announced that staff will continue to care for and monitor the health and well-being of the animals.
This closure affects some of the nation’s largest museums including the National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture located on the National Mall as well as the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery located at 7th and F Streets, N.W.