The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
**FILE** The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in D.C. will reopen to the public next month.

The NMAAHC — the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture — will reopen on Friday, May 14, the Smithsonian recently announced.

Seven other Smithsonian-ran facilities — including the National Zoo, National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of the American Indian — will also reopen in May.

“All locations will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Smithsonian said in a statement.

Visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public.

The NMAAHC, along with the other Smithsonian museums closed due to the pandemic in 2020. It temporarily reopened in October but closed again on Nov. 23.

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, officials said.

Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites. Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass for each location.

Visitors driving to the zoo who wish to park must purchase parking in advance as well. Visitors can reserve passes online at 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.

“The reopening of these eight locations is the beginning of a phased reopening process for the Institution,” officials said. “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 are available at

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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