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Smithsonian museums, National Zoo, Holocaust Museum closing again due to COVID-19 surge

Smithsonian sign
A Smithsonian sign is seen in Washington D.C. (Image: ABC7)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) — Smithsonian museums that had reopened since the coronavirus pandemic forced their closure in the spring, and the National Zoo, will close again starting Monday.

The zoo, along with the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Portrait Gallery, the Renwick Gallery, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, had all reopened to the public.

The US Holocaust Museum had reopened to the public just under a month ago on October 24 and announced a short 3. and a half weeks later that they too would be closing again indefinitely.

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The Smithsonian said in a statement:

"Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. This will impact the eight Smithsonian facilities in the Washington, D.C., region that had reopened to the public to date. Due to the changing nature of the situation, we are not announcing a reopening date at this time.

The Institution’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff. We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures. We are closely monitoring guidance from local governments, public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit our websites or follow the Smithsonian on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @smithsonian for updates. Visitors who had reserved timed-entry passes to visit at a future date are being contacted directly."

Virus cases and hospitalizations are on the rise nationwide, as well as in our region. On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins reported that more than 250,000 people have died of the virus in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.

The US Holocaust museum said in a statement:

The health and safety of our visitors, staff, and volunteers are the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s highest priority. The spread of the coronavirus is projected to continue to increase in the coming weeks, both locally and nationally.

Therefore, the Museum will temporarily close to the public beginning Monday, November 23. Visitors who have reserved passes for times after the 22nd will be notified immediately. A reopening date has not been determined. The Museum will continue to monitor the situation and update our status, as needed on our website,

A variety of Museum educational offerings are available at, including resources for educators, the Holocaust Encyclopedia, and digital programming.