The National Geographic Museum announced today that it’s reopening to visitors on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. After its closure due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, the Museum has eagerly awaited the opportunity to welcome patrons back to our campus in Washington, D.C. The Museum will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with special provisions to keep staff and visitors safe, including sanitizer dispensers, enhanced air-filtration systems, and styluses for use with interactive elements. Timed tickets are available every 15 minutes and all visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, in accordance with DC Health guidelines. We’re offering free admission to the Museum for the month of February with advance registration available at natgeomuseum.org.
“To say we’ve missed our visitors would be an understatement,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of public programming at the National Geographic Society. “We are so excited to safely open our doors to visitors again for the first time in nearly two years with two brand new exhibitions as well as a complete renovation of the Museum store.” Starting February 16, guests can visit two new exhibitions that are central to National Geographic’s legacy of exploration and photography, “Once Upon a Climb: Stories From Everest” and “The Greatest Wildlife Photographs.”
Few places on Earth inspire, wonder, and awe like Mount Everest. In ”Once Upon a Climb: Stories From Everest,” visitors will step into the shoes of the few extraordinary men and women who’ve climbed 29,045 feet into the sky in some of the most extreme conditions on Earth to summit the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. This exhibition goes beyond the history of exploration at the roof of the world to show the way Everest helps modern-day scientists gauge climate change and its impact on our fragile planet. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors will hear gripping first-person narratives of the climbers, mapmakers, and scientists who know the peak best through a multi-screen projection. To enhance the multimedia experience, the National Geographic Society partnered with Spatial Inc. to render a realistic soundscape that makes visitors feel as if they are dodging a helicopter flying directly above them or standing next to a climber breathing heavily from the exertion of climbing at such high altitudes.
The exhibition also details the geography of the mountain and the cultures that reside there, as well as the changing technology used to map and study the highest point on Earth. The exhibition showcases the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition—the most comprehensive scientific expedition to the iconic mountain in history. To accompany the exhibition, the Society’s Education team created an interactive Everest StoryMap designed to explain the geography of the Himalaya, the local cultures and the impacts of climate change on the mountain, and the 3 million people who depend on it for freshwater. The StoryMap—designed in partnership with digital experience developer Neo Pangea—enables users to learn basic Sherpa phrases to communicate with their guides, use cutting-edge tools to assist their team in mapping Everest’s Base Camp, and collect data to reveal information about the health of the mountain. This StoryMap is a great companion for educators and parents and provides a virtual experience that visitors can take home with them.
Once they’ve figuratively descended the mountain, visitors can cross the hallway to see iconic wildlife photography in “The Greatest Wildlife Photographs” exhibition. For 116 years, National Geographic has pioneered and championed the art and the science of wildlife photography and we’ve selected nearly 70 images that showcase the very best wildlife pictures from the pages of National Geographic magazine. Visitors will see how photography has evolved starting with the very first nighttime wildlife photograph of a white-tailed deer taken in 1900 by George Shiras—dubbed “Grandfather Flash”—who pioneered the use of trip-wire camera traps and night photography. Today’s photographers use camera traps triggered by infrared sensors to produce close-up images of animals in unguarded moments and “Greatest Wildlife” employs the same technology to capture and display images of visitors walking through the exhibition. Drone technology, camera lenses, and close-up methods have since advanced tremendously, allowing iconic National Geographic photographers like Cristina Mittermeier, Prasenjeet Yadav, Ami Vitale, Joel Sartore, and Evgenia Arbugaeva to pave the way for future generations of visual storytellers.
We’re excited to invite people back through the iconic yellow border into a world of exploration and storytelling. We recommend pre-registering for tickets at natgeomuseum.org. To learn more about the two new exciting exhibitions, follow the Museum’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.