Smithsonian temporarily closes two museums due to wave of Covid

The National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC will be closed until January 17.


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The Smithsonian has temporarily closed two museums and changed the hours of others from January 5 to 17 in anticipation of staff shortages due to the upsurge in Covid-19 cases, the institution said on Monday.

The National Air and Space Museum and the Anacostia Community Museum, both in Washington DC, will be closed until January 17. Other museums in the capital will be open two to four days a week during this period, and some exhibition spaces may be closed. closed to reduce the number of on-site staff needed, the institution said.

The closures and schedule changes are needed to “reposition key personnel in its museums as needed,” said the Smithsonian, which includes 19 museums, 21 libraries, nine research centers and the National Zoo, in its announcement.

However, other major museums in the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (The Met), the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, normally operate with a set of protocols. existing pandemics.

“We feel lucky to stay open; of course, we watch the Covid news every hour, ”says Ken Weine, communications director at the Met.

During the holidays, the Met limited the number of visitors to half of its usual capacity and carried out vaccine checks outside. The museum still doesn’t allow group tours or dining inside, says Weine.

Like the Met, major museums in New York City, which has one of the highest numbers of Covid cases in the United States, remain open. The Museum of Modern Art and Museums and the Guggenheim Foundation both require advance tickets, proof of vaccination, and social distancing.

The two Smithsonian museums in the city, the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, remain open with their current operating hours.

Four of the National Mall’s most visited museums – the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the recently reopened Arts and Industries Building – will remain open five days a week.

Other museums across the country have also decided to close for the coming weeks. The Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, Colorado, announced it will be closed until Friday, while the Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati will be closed until Jan. 12, according to the institutions’ websites. .

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