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In some not great news, Smithsonian announced today that starting November 23rd it would temporarily close the National Zoo and 8 of its recently re-opened museums; these include the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Renwick Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center.

The sad but responsible and necessary decision comes as Covid cases continue to rise in the DMV area.

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch said: “Our gradual, cautious approach to reopening, starting in late July, allowed us to safely welcome visitors back to eight Smithsonian facilities in fulfillment of our public service mission. However, we have always been ready and willing to take a step back when the data indicates it is necessary to do so to protect our staff and visitors.”

Visitors will be permitted through the end of the weekend, with the closures slated to go into effect on Monday. No official re-opening date has been announced due to the precariousness of the pandemic, but we’ll obviously keep you posted if and when that information is made available.

In the meantime, be sure to support these institutions, and check out a whole host of online exhibitions that can be visited from home.

AND, save the date for December 18th, which is when the virtual edition of SMITHSONIAN at 8 is happening beginning at 7:30pm ET.

Tickets include access to:

  • A live set by DJ Trayze
  • A cocktail-making demonstration by Mary Beth Albright, food anchor at the Washington Post, with an ingredients list provided in advance so you can sip along at home
  • A cheese board–building workshop and guided tasting led by DC’s Cheesemonster Studio
  • A live tour of the winter night sky with staff from George Mason University Observatory
  • A curator talk with James Deutsch of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on winter solstice folk traditions from around the world
  • Trivia with a Smithsonian twist

Pre-sale through November 27 features General Admission at $12; after that, prices rise to $15.