ECA News Briefs

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Reopens June 20; Visitor Guidelines and Phased Museum Reopening Announced

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, announced today that the Sculpture Garden will reopen to the public on Saturday, June 20, with reduced daily hours (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), limited capacity, and one gate each for entry and exit. Visitors may enjoy the lush, 6.1-acre garden; meander along the curvilinear pathways; find shade and ample seating around the sprawling fountain; and discover 21 modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures. The Pavilion Café will offer prepackaged salads, sandwiches, and beverages for credit card–only purchase just outside the doors of the restaurant. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is located between 9th and 7th Streets NW on the National Mall.

Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

“I find great relief in being able to welcome our visitors back to the Gallery by way of our oasis-like Sculpture Garden. Our 21 modern and contemporary sculptures, from Roxy Paine’s towering Graft to Magdalena Abakanowicz’s powerful Puellae (Girls), are ready to receive visitors thanks to the efforts of our conservators. The weather is warm, people have been on stay-at-home orders for months, and the garden offers such delight and respite for anyone who visits. Our horticulture division has been hard at work maintaining the grounds during the closure—albeit at a safe social distance on a modified schedule—and it really looks quite beautiful,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art.

The West and East Buildings remain closed to the public. The Gallery will begin a phased reopening of the buildings after Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announces the beginning of Stage 2 of ReOpen DC—a comprehensive set of guidelines that the city published on May 21—and once we are able to do so safely.

Sculpture Garden Safety Measures and Visitor Guidelines

For the safety and well-being of all, the capacity of the Sculpture Garden will be limited, visitors ages 2 and up will be required wear face coverings, and visitors will be strongly encouraged to practice safe social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from anyone not in their household group.

To manage the capacity of the Sculpture Garden, the Gallery has modified the gates, providing one entrance and one exit. Visitors will enter at 7th Street and Madison Drive NW and exit at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

The outdoor café seating and restrooms will undergo enhanced cleanings, and hand sanitizer will be available near the Pavilion Café. Indoor seating for the café will reopen at a later date.

Phased Reopening of West and East Buildings

The Gallery will begin a phased reopening of the buildings after Mayor Bowser announces Stage 2 of ReOpen DC and once we are able to do so safely. Opening first will be the West Building Ground Floor galleries and special exhibitions Degas at the Opéra and True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870. The Gallery will open the remainder of the West Building galleries after Mayor Bowser announces Stage 3 of Reopen DC and once we are able to do so safely. The East Building, which is undergoing construction, will reopen last.

New visitor guidelines for the buildings will require face coverings and free timed entry passes. Once the Gallery announces an opening date for the West Building, information about entry passes will follow.

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.