Arts Desk

Where to Get Your Museum Fix If the Smithsonian Shuts Down


UPDATE 3: The National Building Museum is offering free admission to government employees who show their IDs every day until the shutdown ends.

UPDATE 2: The National Geographic Museum will offer free admission to everyone tomorrow. Visitors can also enjoy a free film screening as part of National Geographic Live's "Tuesdays at Noon" program.

UPDATE: Provided the government shuts down tomorrow, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will offer free admission to furloughed federal employees who show a work ID at the entrance.

As the possible government shutdown nears, the Smithsonian Institution is bracing for impact. If the federal government shuts down, the museums will close to visitors, too, and they'll stay that way until the budgetary mess gets resolved. Visitors and locals hoping to view Dorothy's ruby slippers or visit the orangutans at the National Zoo for free will be S.O.L.

But if you require an immediate museum visit, all of D.C.'s private institutions will be open for the duration of the shutdown. If you're hoping for a shutdown discount at any place with admission costs, keep dreaming. For now, all venues will continue to charge their usual admission prices.

Those venues include:

International Spy Museum—open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

National Museum of Crime and Punishment—open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Newseum—open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Corcoran Gallery of Art—closed tomorrow, as usual. Open Wednesday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

National Building Museum—open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

National Museum of Women in the Arts—open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

National Geographic Museum—open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Phillips Collection—open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the Phillips' permanent collection is free on weekdays.

If you're looking for more free things, the Folger Shakespeare Library will extend its Robben Island Shakespeare exhibition to Oct. 2. The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center charges no admission fees and will remain open.

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  • Reader

    I'm confused. Isn't the Smithsonian technically a private institution? Are its employees really federal?

  • Becca

    Another good site to include would be Washington National Cathedral - they will remain open and they are technically free, though they ask for a donation (recommended $10 per person).

  • Pingback: Shutdown Shuffle | Tours By Becca

  • Marilyn Becker

    What a miserable bunch those Repulicans led by the Tea Baggers and John Boehner. That this bunch of hooligans can shut down the government and deny the American people access to our own monuments and museums is unbelievable in America. They should all be impeached immediately!

    We don't need foreign terrorists to close down America, this bunch is doing it all by themselves.

    Fie on you all....we have planned a trip to DC with our grandkids for months and now what? We are feeling completely saddened and overcome by this shutdown.