The museums will close to the public until further notice, effective on November 23.

If you thought about visiting the museums in D.C. over the holiday weekend, you’re going to have to make other plans. The Smithsonian has announced it will be closing all of the museums, along with the National Zoo, due to the rising spread of the coronavirus. The closures will begin on Monday, November 23, and will probably last through January.

The museums on the National Mall began phased reopening in September, requiring visitors to wear masks and get timed-entry passes online. Museum officials cited rising case counts in the region and across the country as the rationale for the closures.

The museums on the mall have been open with shuttered exhibits and capacity restrictions. Last month, the National Gallery of Art announced its popular ice rink in the sculpture garden would not open for the 2020-2021 season. Museums impacted by the closures include:

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture 
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Zoo
  • Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Chantilly, Virginia)

National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian, Courtesy of The Smithsonian

D.C. has been averaging around 150 new cases each day, while Maryland and Virginia are hovering around 2,000. On November 20, Maryland transitioned back to Stage Two, reducing capacity in businesses to 50 percent and forcing bars and restaurants to close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony this year will take place virtually on December 3. Normally the public is able to view the Christmas trees person at President’s Park, but the National Park Service has not announced whether or not the tradition will continue this year.