WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will reopen to the public Friday, June 18, with new hours, free timed-entry passes and health-and-safety procedures in place. Visitors will see familiar displays, including the Hope Diamond and Nation’s T. rex, alongside a new contemporary art exhibition, “Unsettled Nature: Artists Reflect on the Age of Humans.” Additional exhibitions will open through the fall.
“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. “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.”
Planning a visit
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, starting June 11 at 12:30 p.m. Entry to the museum will be limited to the National Mall entrance. All visitors must exit the museum via Constitution Avenue.
Initially,“Q?rius: The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center,” located on the ground floor, will remain closed. All cafés, stores and the museum’s second floor will also be closed with the exception of “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” and the “Harry Winston Gallery” where visitors will be able to view the Hope Diamond. Visitors should check the museum’s website for more information about open attractions.
Guidelines for visiting
The safety of visitors and staff is the museum’s highest priority. The museum has implemented several new safeguards based on recommendations from public health officials.
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.
Staff will be conducting enhanced cleaning measures frequently. Lockers will not be available to store personal items.
When the museum reopens, it will debut “Unsettled Nature: Artists Reflect on the Age of Humans,” a contemporary art exhibition that is the first of its kind at the museum. The exhibition will offer visitors the opportunity to explore the unparalleled, ubiquitous and still-growing mark that humanity is making on the world through 16 works of art, asking visitors to consider how they are shaping the planet and what world they envision for the future.
“Critical Distance,” a social augmented-reality experience in partnership with Microsoft, will open in late summer. It brings audiences into the world of the Salish Sea, home of the endangered Southern Resident orcas and their struggle for a sustainable future.
“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” returns this fall after a seven-year tour through North America. The exhibition, presented in partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, is a multimedia exhibition that explores how the genomic revolution is influencing people’s lives and the extraordinary impact it is having on science, medicine and nature.
“Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Unforgettable Behavior,” a specially curated photography show from the Natural History Museum in London, opens in late fall. It features 38 award-winning images from past Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions. Each photograph tells a unique story — from life-or-death decisions to changing environments and human interactions. The photos ignite curiosity about the natural world and invite visitors to become advocates for the planet.
Starting June 18, the museum will open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but timed-entry passes are required. For more information, visit the museum website at https://naturalhistory.si.edu/.