Visiting Tips & FAQs

Know Before You Go: Guidelines for Visiting

Starting Wednesday, July 21, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum will no longer be accepting timed-entry passes. All passes issued for July 21–Aug. 15 will be canceled and will not be scanned at entry. July 21 and onward, all visitors will enter as walk-up visitors.

We ask that all visitors, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, follow these safety measures to protect everyone’s health. Visitors who do not adhere to safety policies and guidelines may be asked to leave.

If Sick, Stay Home
  • We’re asking all visitors who are sick or feel unwell to please stay home. If you are at increased risk of severe illness, you may also want to consider staying home.
Face Coverings
  • Effective Friday, July 30, all visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask while visiting Smithsonian museums and indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Face coverings should fit properly, covering the nose, mouth, and chin with no large gaps on the outside of the face, and they should have at least two layers. Face shields are not permitted as a substitute for a face covering but may be worn over a face covering or mask. Face coverings or masks with an exhalation valve are not permitted.
Social Distancing
  • We encourage visitors to maintain a safe social distance of six feet or more between households or groups.
Hygiene
  • Please wash and sanitize hands frequently during your visit and practice good hygiene. Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout our facilities.
Personal Belongings
  • We encourage you to limit the number of personal belongings and bags you bring into our facilities as they will be subject to a thorough search. Limiting the items you bring will increase your speed through security checkpoints, helping us all maintain a safe social distance. Please note that we do not offer coat or bag storage.
Keeping Us All Safe

As the Smithsonian reopens, safety comes first. We’ve put safety measures in place to protect the health of our visitors, staff, volunteers, and collections based on guidance from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and local governments:

  • Effective Friday, July 30, all visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask while visiting Smithsonian museums and indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
  • We’re providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors throughout our facilities and conducting more frequent and enhanced cleaning.
  • We’re recommending that visitors maintain a safe social distance between households or groups.
  • We’ve installed protective safety shields at bag-check screening stations and registers.
  • We’re evaluating our exhibits, interactives, and indoor spaces on a case-by-case basis. Some of these features may be closed or operate at limited capacity.
  • Our staff will stay home when sick, wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and wash hands and practice good hygiene.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As a way to manage capacity levels and allow for adequate social distancing in our museums, the Smithsonian implemented timed-entry passes at most museums as part of a gradual reopening plan following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 20, the Smithsonian no longer restricts capacity due to COVID-19. We will continue to manage pre-COVID capacity at the museums using electronic sensors or hand-counting measures, but no longer need to implement timed-entry passes at current capacity at most locations.

 

Visitors may have to wait in lines to enter museums depending on the number of people arriving at a given time with security checks and museum capacity limits.

Effective Friday, July 30, all visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask while visiting Smithsonian museums and indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

We continue to encourage visitors to maintain a safe social distance of 6 feet or more between households or groups. At higher capacities, it is difficult to enforce social distancing and some spaces in the museums may be crowded. We encourage visitors to take this into consideration when planning their visit.

No. Starting July 20, we are no longer restricting group sizes.