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Health & Safety

By purchasing a ticket, you agree to comply with all health, security, and safety protocols that are in place at the time of your program. COVID-19 protocols are subject to change based on the CDC and Smithsonian policies, and policies may vary by presenter or program. Please continue to check this page prior to your program for any changes, and be on the lookout for an email from us if your program happens to have different protocols in place due to the nature of the program.

Health & Well-Being


As of March 11, 2022, Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC are no longer requiring visitors to wear masks during their visit when Smithsonian regional levels for COVID-19 are in the low or medium level. Masks will be required if Levels go into high. If the level does rise to high you will be notified via email before your program takes place.


Effective September 1, 2022, and based on recent CDC recommendations, Smithsonian Institution is no longer requiring program participants attending Smithsonian-sponsored activities to show proof of vaccination or negative test results. This applies for all Smithsonian Regional Levels for COVID-19 (Low, Medium, High). However, we encourage everyone to stay up to date on their COVID vaccinations and boosters.

Not Feeling Well? Please Stay Home!

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 5 days leading up to your program or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the program, please let us know and we can switch your in-person ticket to an online ticket should that option be available for your program. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about our health policies.

Air Quality & Additional Safety Measures in the S. Dillon Ripley Center

  • HVAC systems are circulating fresh, outside air at all times; and MERV 13 air filters have been installed to help reduce the spread of viruses indoors.
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures with CDC- and EPA-approved disinfectants throughout the building for all common areas and restrooms.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations are available throughout the building. Visitors and staff are encouraged to wash and sanitize hands frequently.

Important Information

  • COVID-19 Guidelines may vary for programs that take place in a non-Smithsonian facility. This includes tours, Summer Camp, and other in-person programs. In the event that the guidelines are different, information will be listed on the individual program pages for those specific programs.
  • While Smithsonian Associates follows all recommended practices, these protocols do not offer absolute protection against contracting COVID-19. Each guest assumes their own risk with participation in Associates in-person programs.

Registration, tickets, & check-in protocols


If you register multiple individuals, you may be asked to supply the names of your guests at checkout, or you may be contacted by our Customer Service Staff for your guest’s names after your purchase. If there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group. Once registered, you should receive an automatic email confirmation from

Tickets & Check-in

Physical tickets will not be sent via postal mail to registrants for in-person programs. Check-in occurs at the door with a patron roster. Please keep your email confirmation handy to reference program details. If you cannot locate your email confirmation, you can resend your order confirmation or print-at-home tickets to yourself from your account page.


Building Entry

When you visit any Smithsonian building, you will discover that we have security measures in place to ensure your safety and the safety of the objects contained within. At many of our facilities, you'll be greeted upon entry by one of our security personnel who will conduct a thorough hand-check of all bags, briefcases, purses, and containers. At some museums, visitors are required to walk through a metal detector.

We encourage you to limit the number of personal belongings and bags you bring into our facilities as they will be subject to a thorough search. Limiting the number of items you bring will increase your speed through security checkpoints and help us all maintain a safe social distance.

Prohibited Conduct

Visitation policies at the Smithsonian Institution are designed to protect visitors and staff as well as secure and preserve the collections, facilities, and historic buildings entrusted to the Smithsonian's care.

While on Smithsonian premises, no visitor shall:
  • Smoke in any Smithsonian facilities or in any outdoor gardens
  • Carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, excluding active law enforcement personnel authorized to carry firearms
  • Display or carry placards, signs, or banners
  • Destroy, damage, or remove property
  • Climb upon any part of a building
  • Use loud, abusive, or otherwise improper language
  • Loiter, sleep, or participate in unwarranted assemblies
  • Create any hazard to persons or things
  • Perform obscene or indecent acts
  • Engage in disorderly conduct
  • Use, possess, or sell illegal drugs
  • Bring dogs or other animals, other than service animals
  • Take photographs for advertising or any other commercial purpose
  • Solicit for commercial or charitable purposes or distribute advertisements, pamphlets, handbills, and flyers