Seattle Art Museum (SAM) announced Monday that it will reopen its downtown museum, as well as its gift shop, to the general public on Sept. 11, in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s recommendations.

Inslee announced that Thursday that museums will be allowed to open under Phase 2 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan, as long as they follow guidelines including mandatory face masks for patrons over age age 2 and keeping attendance at 25% capacity or lower.

To control capacity at the museum, SAM will sell timed tickets exclusively online beginning Sept. 4. Find more details at

Seattle Asian Art Museum, SAM’s cafe, and the PACCAR Pavilion at the Olympic Sculpture Park will remain closed.

The National Nordic Museum also announced Monday that it plans to reopen, setting a date of Sept. 4. The museum, based in Ballard, is requiring all visitors to purchase a timed ticket online, though it also notes on its website that a limited number of tickets will be available for purchase in person, for the next available entrance time or a future date, for those who can’t purchase online. More info at

The Frye Art Museum on First Hill says it will recall all furloughed employees in early September to begin implementing its reopening plans, and hopes to open the museum’s doors in mid-October. Admission to the Frye has been and will continue to be free, but the museum will also require patrons to reserve timed tickets online to help stick to the state’s 25% capacity rule.

Previously, museums wouldn’t have been allowed to open until Phase 3.

“We know the art, culture and creative industry has been severely impacted by COVID and have heard from many leaders in that field from around the state asking for economic relief and support,” said Mike Faulk, press secretary for Gov. Inslee. The Washington State Arts Commission, he said, consulted with museums to develop quicker reopening guidelines that have been approved by the state Department of Health and Labor & Industries.

Seattle Times assistant features editor Janet I. Tu contributed to this report.