How you can visit all the Smithsonian museums for free this Summer

Kaleah Mcilwain

Summer is officially here and with restrictions lifted, museums are finally reopening. The Smithsonian, the largest museum in the world, is slowly reopening its museums and will allow guests to visit for free.

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(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Smithsonian is opening ten of its museums throughout the Summer. To visit most of the museums guests will need to reserve a free, timed-entry pass online or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1.

Reopening Schedule

  • Thursday, June 10 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Friday, June 18 National Museum of Natural History
  • Friday, July 16 National Museum of African Art
  • Friday, July 16 National Museum of Asian Art Freer Gallery
  • Friday, July 30 National Air and Space Museum-Smithsonian Institution Building (the “Castle”)
  • Friday, Aug. 6 Anacostia Community Museum
  • Friday, Aug. 20 Hirshhorn Museum (Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden remains open)
  • Friday, Aug. 27 National Postal Museum

The Anacostia Community Museum and the National Postal Museum will not require timed-entry passes. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which typically charges for entry, will offer free tickets through Oct. 31. Tickets to visit Cooper Hewitt for July 2 through July 16 are available now.

Prior to the pandemic not all the Smithsonian’s museums and exhibits were free but for its Summer reopening plan all ten museums will be free to visit.

All Smithsonian museums will reopen with additional health and safety measures due to the pandemic and many with reduced hours of operation. Guests can expect:

  • Everyone over the age of two has to wear a mask. Fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear a mask in outdoor spaces
  • A limited number of people will be allowed in each location
  • Some locations will require a timed-entry pass be reserved in advance
  • Visitors will be able to secure up to six passes maximum for personal use only
  • Groups larger than 12 are strictly prohibited
  • Social distancing, one-way paths and directional guidance will be in place
  • All on-site public tours and programs are currently suspended
  • Some cafes, exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters, retail stores or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at a limited capacity
  • Enhanced cleaning throughout all facilities

Detailed information for visitors is available on each museum website.

Guests should also be on the lookout for the historic Arts and Industries Building to open to the public for the first time since 2004 in November with a new exhibition, “FUTURES,” in honor of the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary.

The #reopening schedule from June to August will be the first time the museums have fully reopened since they closed to the public in March 2020.

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