M.R.News, courtesy of MineralogicalRecord.com - 5/31/2021
After closing all of its sites in March 2020 because of the Covid pandemic, the Smithsonian Institution will welcome visitors to the popular National Museum of Natural History on June 18. Like the other Smithsonian facilities, it will open initially at about 25 percent capacity, with reduced hours and social distancing measures. The Natural History Museum is one of the largest of the Smithsonian sites, a fact that has kept it closed when some other popular Smithsonian Museums reopened last year. Although it is housed in one of the Smithsonian’s older buildings, the facility’s ventilation was not to blame; they have the largest behind-the-scenes staff and researchers supporting the exhibitions. Visitors to the museum will enter on the National Mall side and exit on Constitution Avenue to help minimize crowding at the entry points. All of the first-floor galleries will be open — including the dinosaurs — as will the second-floor galleries containing the Hope diamond (but not yet the minerals).
The Smithsonian will follow safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including asking visitors who do not feel well to stay home, requiring visitors ages 2 and older to wear face coverings (although fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks in outdoor spaces), using social distancing techniques such as one-way directional paths, providing hand-sanitizing stations and conducting enhanced cleaning. Officials anticipate some of these measures will be rolled back as the summer progresses, if conditions continue to improve. The museum will require free timed passes for entry. Passes will become available a week before the scheduled reopenings at si.edu/visit or by calling (800) 514-3849, Ext. 1. Each visitor, regardless of age, must have a pass; up to six can be reserved by one individual for a specific location. Groups larger than six will be prohibited.