FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fort Smith National Historic Site Visitor Center/Museum reopened on November 1 after a closure lasting 593 days.

A spokesperson for the site stated that hours of operation will be daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The number of visitors allowed inside the building at one time has been set at no more than 35. The park grounds and trails will remain open from thirty minutes before sunrise to thirty minutes after sunset.

Initially closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, the Visitor Center/Museum suffered water damage due to a frozen sprinkler head caused by the cold temperatures during the polar vortex of February, 2021. Demolition of the affected areas was quickly addressed and the repair process is now complete, according to the press release.

We want to thank everyone for their patience, and we are very excited to open our doors again to the public. Visitors to the site will once again be able to experience Fort Smith’s nationally significant history within our historic building, through exhibits and interpretive media.

Lisa Conard Frost, Park Superintendent

Current CDC and Public Health guidance is in effect at the National Historic Site. To promote staff and visitor’s safety, masks are required in all NPS buildings and on all forms of enclosed public transportation, regardless of location or vaccination status.

Additionally, masks must be worn in outdoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks.