National Museum of American History Reopens to the Public May 21

New Artifacts On View Include Bob Ross Objects and “Crazy Rich Asians” Gown, Spotlight on Women’s History Exhibitions: “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” and “Picturing Women Inventors”

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will reopen its doors Friday, May 21, with free timed-entry passes required and health-and-safety procedures in place. Two new acquisitions cases will feature the gown worn by actress Constance Wu in the 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians and the 1980 Bob Ross painting “On a Clear Day” along with the art educator’s easel and palette knife. A spotlight on women’s history continues with “Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage” and “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” as well as the debut of “Picturing Women Inventors,” which uses larger-than-life images to highlight contemporary and historic stories of women inventors, visionaries and scientists at work.

The museum’s new hours of operation are Fridays through Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with the last entry at 3 p.m. A full list of the Smithsonian’s health-and-safety measures can be found at, and the museum’s website details which galleries are open, partially open or closed due to health and social-distancing protocols as well as ongoing renovations. Hands-on spaces, including Draper Spark!Lab and Wegmans Wonderplace, will remain closed and most interactives are off-line. The Warner Bros. Theater will also remain closed.

The museum’s main store will offer souvenirs and branded face coverings. Food service will not be available. Bottled water is allowed, and there are refillable water bottle stations.  

The museum will open “¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues” July 2 to showcase how for nearly a century baseball has been a social and cultural force in Latina/o communities across the United States. From community teams to the Major Leagues, this bilingual exhibition takes audiences on a journey into the heart of American baseball to understand how generations of Latinos have helped make the game what it is today. In the fall, the museum will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 with digital resources, including a web portal to share stories of that day and to reflect on a post-Sept. 11 world as well as programming during the week of Sept. 6.

Planning a Visit to the Museum

  • The National Museum of American History will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Tuesdays, with the last timed entry at 3 p.m.
  • Free, time-entry passes must be obtained in advance. Passes can be reserved online at or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. Individuals will be able to reserve up to six passes. Each visitor must have a pass, regardless of age. Visitors can choose to print timed-entry passes at home or show a digital timed-entry pass on their mobile device.
  • For the safety of visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited, and at least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children under the age of 18. 
  • Face coverings are required for all ages 2 and older and all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines should be followed. 
  • Social-distancing markers, pathways and digital signage will allow for parties to keep at least 6 feet apart from other visitors.  
  • Visitors will enter the building from Constitution Avenue N.W. and may exit either onto the National Mall at Madison Drive or at Constitution Avenue. 
  • A contactless security-screening system is in place. 
  • The building’s HVAC system has been updated with enhanced filtration to allow for cleaner air circulation throughout the building. 
  • Hand-sanitation stations, including touchless options, are in place throughout the building. 

Recognizing that some audiences may be unable to travel or visit, the museum has enhanced its online and digital offerings with learning labs, social studies discussions in English and Spanish and video resources including for early learners. Educational resources may be found at

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History seeks to empower people to create a more just and compassionate future by examining, preserving and sharing the complexity of our past. The museum, located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, is open Friday through Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Admission is free, but reserved time-entry passes are required. To make reservations, visit or For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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Media only:
Melinda Machado
Laura Duff