The Smithsonian Institute's National Museum for Natural History reopens on June 18. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE
June 9 (UPI) -- The Smithsonian Institute announced Wednesday that it will reopen its National Museum of Natural History on June 18 after being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are taking a number of precautions to ensure the health of our visitors and staff, including a new requirement that all visitors must reserve a timed-entry pass. These will be made available approximately one week before we reopen," the museum wrote on its website.
During the initial reopening phase, the museum will be open from Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cafes, stores and the second floor of the museum will remain closed, including the Harry Winston Gallery where the Hope Diamond is displayed.
Groups larger than six are prohibited, and all visitors are required to wear face masks. In order to process more people through security faster, the museum urged visitors to limit the number of personal items they bring in. Coat and bag storage will not be offered.
"After 15 months, we're excited to welcome visitors back to the museum safely," Kirk Johnson, the Sant Director of National Museum of Natural History, The Hill reported. "We've missed the millions of people who come here every year to deepen their appreciation for science and the natural world and look forward to inspiring them once again."
The Smithsonian Institute began a phased reopening of its museums. The National Zoo, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Gardens and Outdoor Exhibitions have already reopened, along with others.
Other museums like the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African Art will open later this year.
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum is scheduled to reopen on June 10.