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Smithsonian closes museums in DC and NYC over COVID-19

national museum american history

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, the Smithsonian Institution has closed its 19 museums in Washington DC, two museums in NY and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

In an official statement, the Smithsonian confirmed temporary closures beginning March 14. The institution has not announced reopening dates.

Smithsonian museums closing in New York are the the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the American Indian Museum’s Heye Center.

The institution’s museums closing in DC include the National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, and the National Air and Space Museum.

Animals will be cared for at National Zoo

smithsonian national zoo
Smithsonian Institution

Further closures include the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo officials confirmed that staff will continue to care for and monitor the health and wellbeing of the animals.

Museum staff and administrators have been asked to work from home. The institution said that the “health and safety of Smithsonian visitors, staff and volunteers is top priority”.

The Smithsonian’s decision was made in a bid to limit large gatherings of people, as the number of COVID-19 cases escalate.

Smithsonian cancels or postpones all public events

Attractions are temporarily closing all over the US. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has temporarily closed all three locations – The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.

Daniel H. Weiss, CEO of the Met, said the institution “must do all that we can to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our community”.

“We look forward to soon announcing when we’ll be able to welcome our staff and visitors back to the museum,” added Weiss.

Additional closures in New York City include the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the New Museum.

The Met temporarily closes all three locations

Metropolitan Museum of Art Phil Roeder
The Met

In California, closures include the Broad, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Across the pond in Europe, museums and cultural institutions are closed in Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy.

The Prado, the Museo Reina Sofia and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza are closed in Spain, while the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou and the Eiffel Tower are shut in France.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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