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Smithsonian Announces Modified Schedule for Museums, Zoo Due to COVID


The Smithsonian says its Washington, D.C., museums and the National Zoo will operate on modified schedules for the next two weeks as it expects "unprecedented" staff shortages due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases.

The museums were closed Monday and opened three hours late Tuesday due to Monday's heavy snowstorm. Starting Wednesday, some museums will be open fewer days each week, and two museums will close completely through Jan. 17.

Four of the most-visited museums on the National Mall — the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Arts and Industries Building — will remain open to the public five days a week.

The Smithsonian Institution Building ("The Castle") and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, will remain open daily.

The National Air and Space Museum and the Anacostia Community Museum will be closed through Jan. 17. The Anacostia museum had already been shuttered since late December due to COVID-19 case rates causing staffing challenges.

Additional museums in D.C. will be open to the public for two to four days a week during this period.

On days they are operating, the museums will be open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

"This modified schedule allows the Smithsonian to reposition key staff across its museums as needed while ensuring that museums remain open to the public each day of the week," the institution said in a news release. "Museums may have limited public entrances, and some exhibition spaces may be closed during this period to reduce the number of on-site staff needed."

Would-be visitors can find updated information on individual museum websites.

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