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The gallery housing the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, will finally reopen to the public Friday, June 18, after being shuttered for 461 days.
The Hope Diamond is the museum's most popular exhibit, as more than 100 million visitors have marveled at the 45.52-carat blue gem since it was donated to the Smithsonian by famed jeweler Harry Winston in 1958. Today, the Hope Diamond is estimated to be worth $250 million, making it the single most valuable item at the Smithsonian.
“After 15 months, we’re excited to welcome visitors back to the museum safely,” said Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History. “We’ve missed the millions of people who come here every year to deepen their appreciation for science and the natural world and look forward to inspiring them once again.”
While the Hope Diamond in the Harry Winston Gallery will be thrilling guests, the rest of the gem and mineral galleries on the second floor of the museum will remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Additional exhibitions are expected to open through the fall.
Visitors excited to see the Hope Diamond and other exhibitions, including the Nation’s T. rex, will need to reserve a free timed-entry pass. Visitors will be entering the museum from the National Mall side of the building and exiting via the Constitution Avenue side. The museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the initial reopening phase.
The museum's official website says that passes will be released on a rolling 30-day basis. They will become available each day, beginning at 8:00 a.m., for time slots 30 days out. Use this link to reserve a maximum of six tickets per party.
Opened in 1910, the National Museum of Natural History is dedicated to maintaining and preserving the world’s most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts, including 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems.
Credits: The Hope Diamond photo by Chip Clark / Smithsonian. Virtual tour screenshots via https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/vt3/NMNH/z_tour-022.html.