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Smithsonian's Natural History Museum reopens Friday

The National Museum of Natural History is the latest Smithsonian museum to reopen since closing at the beginning of the pandemic

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History reopens to the public on Friday, June 18. Like the other Smithsonian institutions, the Natural History Museum will have health and safety procedures in place and require timed-entry passes. 

Visitors will see familiar displays like the Hope Diamond and Nation's T. rex, but new exhibitions are planned through the fall, including a contemporary art exhibition called "Unsettled Nature: Artists Reflect on the Age of Humans."

“After 15 months, we’re excited to welcome visitors back to the museum safely,” said Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History, in a press release “We’ve missed the millions of people who come here every year to deepen their appreciation for science and the natural world and look forward to inspiring them once again.”

The museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. during the initial reopening phase. Timed-entry passes will be required. Visitors can reserve passes online or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1.

Entry to the museum will be limited to the National Mall entrance. All visitors must exit the museum via Constitution Avenue, the museum says. All cafes, stores, and the museum's second floor will be closed, with the exception of "Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World," and the Harry Winston Gallery, where the Hope Diamond is displayed. For more details about what's open and what's closed, visit the museum's website.

Here's a look at some of the guidelines for visiting:

  • All visitors who are not feeling well should stay home, including those who have been vaccinated again COVID-19.
  • Visitors ages 2 and older must wear face coverings (over the mouth and nose) at all times.
  • The museum uses timed-entry passes and capacity limits to allow for safe social distancing.
  • Visitors will be able to secure up to six passes maximum for personal use only.
  • Groups larger than six are strictly prohibited.
  • Social distancing and face covering requirements will be enforced by museum personnel.
  • Hand-sanitizer stations will be positioned throughout the museum.
  • Staff will be conducting enhanced cleaning measures frequently.
  • Lockers will not be available to store personal items.

The East Building of the National Gallery of Art is also reopening Friday, 

RELATED: 10 Smithsonian museums to open on modified schedule this summer

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