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DC’s African American History and Culture Museum Is Finally Allowing Walk-In Visitors

This month, the museum is piloting a “Walk-Up Wednesdays” program for first-come, first-served entry once a week.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (photo by Alan Karchmer, courtesy the Smithsonian Institution)

Ever since the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in September 2016, getting entry passes has been almost as hard as scoring tickets to a Yayoi Kusama show. If you still haven’t been able to sneak your way into the newest museum on Washington DC’s National Mall, April may be your best bet. Last week, the museum announced that the month would feature Walk-Up Wednesdays, allowing people who haven’t scored entry passes to go into the museum on a first-come, first-served basis, a pilot program to test no-pass entry.

“Walk-Up Wednesdays in April will help us to determine how to manage visitor demand,” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director, said in a statement. “We are honored and humbled to have struck such a chord with our visitors. They stay an average of four-and-a-half hours on weekdays. We don’t want to disappoint our visitors by reaching capacity and having them wait in long lines for space to become available inside the galleries. The goal of this pilot program is to provide greater access for the public while maintaining the safety and security of our visitors.”

The Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian institution, was created by federal legislation in the 2000s and highlights individual and collective stories of slavery and freedom, sports, music, visual art, photography, and more. A limited number of same-day passes will still be available in April every other day except Wednesday, and groups of 10 or more will have to book in advance, regardless of when they plan a visit. Those who were previously able to nab timed passes for April will still have priority over walk-ins.

Advanced timed passes for July 2018, which became available April 4, “sold out” in less than 12 hours. Entry passes for August 2018 will be released on May 2.

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