All Smithsonian museums, National Zoo, to temporarily close amid rising COVID-19 cases

The Smithsonian Institution has announced all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23 due to rising regional and national cases of COVID-19.

The south facade of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is shown June 9, 2003 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)

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This will impact the eight Smithsonian facilities in the D.C. region that had previously reopened to the public. A reopening date has not yet been announced.

The Institution says its top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff. Smithsonian says they will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures. Visitors who had reserved timed-entry passes to visit at a future date are being contacted directly.

Virtual exhibitions, online collections and educational resources are still available to the public through the Smithsonian's website.

The public can also keep up with the National Zoo's giant panda cub by tuning in to the panda cam and helping the zoo give the cub a name.