The crowds at the Norman Rockwell show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum have prompted the museum to extend its hours during the upcoming holidays.
Since "Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg," opened in July, attendance at the museum has soared 30 percent.
Though Rockwell is one of America's most familiar artists, this show had a unique cultural twist. For the first time the filmmakers, two of the most successful of their generation, lent the works of their favorite illustrator, previously in their offices and studios. Some of the scenes inspired their own work.
Usually an extension means a later hour. But American Art is already open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., catching the after-work crowd in Gallery Place and Penn Quarter.
So the museum is opening earlier at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving weekend--Nov. 26, 27 and 28. Then will open 90 minutes early the entire week from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2.
But, as of right now, only the Rockwell exhibit will have the early starting time.The staff promises the cafe and the museum store will also open early.
The museum hasn't had to extend hours since 1998, when an Ansel Adams collection had the galleries busting at the seams and they stayed open to 11 p.m. the final weekend of the show.