By David J. Kent
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Abraham Lincoln is back! At the Smithsonian, that is. You'll soon be able to see all the Lincoln artifacts on display as the Smithsonian Institution announces most museums will start to open up again in May.
As with many other venues, the Smithsonian was closed most of last year due to the COVID pandemic. After closing in March 2020, the museums opened up between July and October, only to be shut down again after another surge in COVID cases. With a concerted attempt to get Americans vaccinated, the Smithsonian is once again planning to reopen - with conditions.
This will be a rolling opening. On May 5, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an offshoot of the Air & Space Museum located in Chantilly, Virginia, will open its doors. Several other museums will open on May 14, including the National Museum of African American American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, and the American Art Museum with its Renwick Gallery. On May 21, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Zoo, and the home of many Lincoln artifacts, the National Museum of American History will open. The remaining Smithsonian museums will remain closed for the time being, but expect them to reopen as COVID conditions allow.
In all cases, visitors will be required to reserve free timed-entry passes, wear masks, and maintain social distancing.
Start making plans now to see Abraham Lincoln's hat, parade axe, watch, campaign torch, office suit and more at the American History museum. Then jump on over to the Portrait Gallery for the Volk life mask and many paintings. Check out the Henry Wolf photomechanical wood engraving on paper at the American Art Museum.
Expect other venues to open soon also. Washington D.C. is filled with Lincoln-related sites, including Ford's Theatre, President Lincoln's Cottage, and the many research opportunities at the National Archives and Library of Congress.
Welcome back, Abe! We missed you.