National Museum of American History Reopens to the Public Sept. 25

“Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” Signature Fall Exhibition To Open in October
September 24, 2020

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will reopen its doors to the public Friday, Sept. 25, through free timed-entry passes and with new health-and-safety procedures in place.

To mark the centennial of women’s suffrage, the museum is featuring “Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage” and will open “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” Oct. 9 to coincide with the International Day of the Girl Oct. 11. The thematic case “Who Pays for Education?” explores the role of philanthropy in education and showcases women educators such as Nannie Helen Burroughs who founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in 1909.

The museum’s new hours of operation are Fridays through Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with the last entry at 3:30 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. Hands-on spaces, including Draper Spark!Lab and Wegmans Wonderplace, will remain closed and most interactives are off-line.

“As collectively we face unprecedented challenges, our doors will open for learning, respite and reflection,” said Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director. “Understanding the complexities of the nation’s past helps us make sense of our contemporary experiences and enables a sense of shared grief and understanding.”

Visitors will be invited to share their thoughts on how the museum might respond to the history being made in 2020. Signs in central areas and selected galleries will ask “Think With Us,” and a QR code will guide users to a link at where they can share input on what the museum collects, exhibits and presents.

A retail “pop-up” shop near the Ruby Slippers gallery will offer souvenirs and branded face-coverings. Additional retail will open later. The museum will not offer food service, and food is not allowed in the museum. Water is allowed, and there are newly installed refillable water bottle stations and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the museum.

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 its first collaboration with Google Arts and Culture featuring 15,000 digitized posters from its political and military history collections, ranging from iconic World War II posters of Rosie the Riveter to Get Out the Vote posters spanning several decades.

“Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” will have both a physical and digital presence beginning Oct. 9. Spanning a timeframe of more than 200 years and with approximately 200 objects, the exhibition examines the ways American girls, from Helen Keller to Minnijean Brown to Naomi Wadler, have used their voices to effect change. A unique feature of the website will be 20 3D scans of fashion featured in the exhibit, allowing for close-up and detailed views of pieces rarely or never before exhibited, including an 1850s bloomer gym suit.

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. · Free time-entry passes must be obtained in advance. Reserve passes online at or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1. An individual 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.

· Passes are available online or by phone.

· Face coverings are required for all ages 6 and older, and all Center 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 exit onto the National Mall at Madison Drive to allow for one-way pathways.

· A contactless security-screening system has been installed and is the first of its kind at the Smithsonian.

· The building’s HVAC system has been updated with enhanced filtration to allow for cleaner air circulation throughout the building.

· Hand-sanitation stations have been added throughout the building.

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 To allow for social distancing, the museum has designated Constitution Avenue N.W. as its only entrance and the National Mall doors are exit only. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

# # #

Note to media: Film crews and reporters who would like to schedule interviews for Sept. 25 need to contact the museum’s press office to arrange on-site access. Limited time slots will be available for on-site press previews for “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” Oct. 7 and 8.