The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s launch of its trial weekday, no-pass entry program attracted over 7,000 visitors on the first day of the monthlong program.
Dubbed “Walk-Up Weekdays,” the museum’s program waives the requirement for timed-entry passes to be obtained in advance on weekdays in the month of September.
On the first day of the program’s implementation, hundreds of visitors were lined up at the doors when the museum opened at 10 a.m. Some arrived as early as 8 a.m., according to.
The museum received more visitors this week following the launch of the no-pass program, NMAAHC Manager of Media Relations Fleur Paysour said.
“We’re seeing a great number of people come in,” Paysour said in an interview with The Hoya. “That has us believe that people feel much more comfortable about coming to the museum instead of going online to reserve passes.”
When the museum first opened Sept. 24, 2016, admission required timed-entry passes, which had to be reserved online months in advance to prevent long lines and to control gallery crowds. Devoted to the recognition and appreciation of African American history and culture, the museum has seen over 4.5 million visitors since it opened, and over 1 million visitors in 2018 so far.
The museum first tested a no-pass entry system earlier this year, when it allowed pass-free entry every Wednesday in April and May. The resulting increase in visitors and positive public reaction spurred the museum to create “Walk-Up Weekdays,” another move to eventually transition away from timed-entry passes, according to The Washington Post.
Museum officials hoped that waiving the requirement for timed-entry passes would encourage more people to visit the museum, while also maintaining a comfortable viewing experience for guests.
“We undertook this experiment to see if this would make a difference and make it easier for people to experience the museum,” Paysour said.
The “Walk-Up Weekdays” program allows students an opportunity to explore the city, Megan Gaffney (SFS ’21) said.
“I think the change is important because it’s something that everyone should be able to see,” Gaffney said. “It’s an important part of our history that we need to recognize, especially when there are so many debates going on about the role of race and racism in America.”
Currently on display is the special exhibit “Watching Oprah,” which explores Oprah Winfrey’s life, career and influence on American culture.
The museum’s new trial program will encourage more visitors to learn about a crucial part of American history, Maya Archer (SFS ’21) said.
“I really hope that this allows more people to go see the museum,” Archer said. “The museum is important because it’s a part of American history that we sometimes like to put in the corner and ignore because sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and even though it is uncomfortable, it’s my history, and how my story came to be.”