The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on Washington’s cultural institutions even as the region begins to reopen. The responses differ by institution: The Kennedy Center has canceled most performances through the end of 2020. The Smithsonian is taking things slowly, using the analogy of a dimmer switch, rather than just flipping the lights back on, while its museums remain closed.
But other attractions have swung open the doors to their buildings and sculpture gardens. Safety is obviously a concern, with stringent social distancing precautions: “Thou shalt wear a face mask” is one of the Museum of the Bible’s “Covid Commandments,” while the Spy Museum provides a “spy gadget,” or stylus, for use with touch screens, elevator buttons and any other surface that might spread germs. The National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden has designated entrance and exit gates to control crowd flow.