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Release Date: July 13, 2020

National Gallery of Art West Building Ground Floor Reopens July 20 with Free Timed Passes Required for Entry


Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art, Washington, announced today that the Ground Floor of the West Building will reopen to the public on Monday, July 20, with reduced daily hours (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.); limited capacity requiring free, timed passes for entry; and one entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Two exits will be available: one at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue and the other at 7th Street NW.

The Gallery will open the remainder of the West Building after Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announces Stage 3 of ReOpen DC—a comprehensive set of guidelines that the city published on May 21—and once we are able to do so safely. The Sculpture Garden remains open, and passes are not required for entry. The East Building, which is undergoing construction, will reopen in the late fall.

"Since our temporary closure in March, we've been preparing for the day when we could safely welcome visitors back into the Gallery. After months of thoughtful planning, we're delighted that that day has arrived. I look forward to once again fulfilling our mission as the nation's art museum—a space for reflection, beauty, and public enjoyment," said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art. "Our new visitor guidelines and timed entry passes will ensure that visitors can comfortably enjoy our collection as well as the Degas at the Opéra and True to Nature exhibitions, which have been extended to compensate for the closure."

West Building Ground Floor Galleries and Exhibitions

The West Building Ground Floor galleries showcase 19th- and 20th-century sculpture; medieval, Renaissance, and baroque sculpture and decorative arts; a selection of impressionist still life paintings; and the expansive installation Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830. A suite of five galleries known as the "Widener Rooms," which house 18th-century French furniture and decorative arts, will remain temporarily closed.

Highlights from the Ground Floor include the 12th-century Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis (2nd/1st century BC (cup); 1137–1140 (mounting)); Leon Battista Alberti's bronze Self-Portrait plaque (c. 1435); Hiram Powers's The Greek Slave (model 1841–1843, carved 1846), one of the most famous American sculptures of the 19th century; a selection of sculptures by Auguste Rodin, including a life-size plaster version of The Age of Bronze (model 1875–1876, cast 1898); and one of the most important collections of sculptures by Edgar Degas in the world.

Two exhibitions that were open at the time of the Gallery's March closure will reopen and have been extended. Degas at the Opéra is extended through October 12, 2020, and True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870 is extended through November 29, 2020. Raphael and His Circle, which opened on February 16, 2020, will not reopen at this time due to the small size of the galleries. At a later date, the Gallery will determine whether this exhibition can reopen safely. Public programs, including concerts and film screenings have been canceled through the end of the year.

Free, Timed Passes

To manage capacity and facilitate a safe experience for visitors, the Gallery will require free, timed passes for entry into the West Building. Passes are available now.

Passes will be released each Monday at 10:00 a.m. for the following week. (For instance, passes for the week of July 20 were released on July 13.) Passes will indicate 30-minute entry windows that fall between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The Gallery will do its best to honor the scheduled time on the passes; however, entry will be subject to building capacity and safety. A limited number of walk-in passes will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Visitors will be asked to:

  • Arrive within the 30-minute window listed on their passes.
  • Display their passes (on a device or printed) for entry.
  • Allow approximately 90 minutes for their visits.

Visitors may call (202) 842-6997 between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily or email [email protected] with additional questions about the passes. General Gallery inquiries or feedback can be directed to our visitor services team at (202) 737-4215 or through this online form.

Visitor Guidelines Safety Measures, and Amenities

To prioritize the well-being of visitors and staff, the capacity of the West Building Ground Floor is limited, and the Gallery has adjusted the visitor experience to meet new health and safety guidelines. Visitors ages 2 and up will be required to wear face coverings consistent with CDC guidance and all visitors will be required to practice safe social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from anyone not in their household group. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the Ground Floor. All visitor restrooms on the Ground Floor will be open and sanitized throughout the day.

The Espresso & Gelato Bar on the Concourse will offer a selection of prepackaged sandwiches and salads, bottled beverages, and coffee beverages. Gallery Shops on the Concourse will offer a full selection of gifts, books, and items for children. The café and shops will only accept credit or debit cards, not cash.

The coat check, as well as a limited number of wheelchairs and strollers, will be available at the 6th Street entrance on a first-come, first-served basis. At this time, guided tours are not available and independently led groups are not permitted. Visitors are encouraged to explore the Gallery through self-guided resources, which can be found on and at the visitor services desk.

Sculpture Garden Safety Measures and Visitor Guidelines

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, located between 9th and 7th Streets NW on the National Mall, opened to the public on June 20, 2020, with reduced daily hours (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). A lush oasis in the middle of the city, the sprawling, 6.1-acres garden features curvilinear pathways, a monumental fountain, and 21 modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures. The Pavilion Café offers prepackaged salads, sandwiches, and beverages for credit card–only purchase just outside the doors of the restaurant. (Indoor café seating will reopen at a later date.)

The capacity of the Sculpture Garden is limited. To manage capacity, the Gallery is providing one entrance and one exit. Visitors may enter at 7th Street and Madison Drive NW and exit at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Visitors ages 2 and up are required to wear face coverings, and visitors are required to practice safe social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from anyone not in their household group. The café seating and restrooms undergo enhanced cleanings, and hand sanitizer is available near the café.

Resources for Reopening

The Gallery's reopening approach is guided by ReOpen DC, which was created by a 250-member advisory group to Mayor Bowser; the White House's and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts; and the Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors, which was published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and which specifically discusses museums and other facilities similar to the Gallery. The Gallery's approach also incorporates recommendations from the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the neighboring governmental jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia.

Press Contact:
Anabeth Guthrie, (202) 842-6804 or [email protected]


General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Press Release

Anabeth Guthrie
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]