With the museums on the Mall closed by the government shutdown, many local workers who suddenly find themselves with a lot of time on their hands have fewer good weekday attractions with which to pass the time. But if you head away from the Smithsonians, you'll find plenty of diversions in smaller museums and galleries across the city. Here are a few arty essentials for the "nonessentials."

A collection of postcards of American life and landmarks in "Ellen Harvey: The Alien's Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C." at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The Corcoran Gallery: It's the last week to see Ellen Harvey's "The Alien's Guide to the Ruins of Washington D.C.," an exhibition that tries to explain our city's monuments to an otherworldly being. Try explaining a government shutdown to them, amiright? The museum is open every day but Mondays and Tuesdays, and admission is $10.

The Phillips Collection: Contemplate political gridlock in the Laib Wax Room or the Rothko Room -- if you go during the week, you might even have them all to yourself. The museum is closed on Mondays and admission is $12.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts: Fans of the novel "The Time Traveler's Wife" may not have known that author Audrey Niffenegger is also a visual artist. Her paintings and drawings are on display at the museum, which is open seven days a week. Admission is $10, though the museum is waiving its admission fee for furloughed workers.

Artisphere: As the "clouds looming over Washington" meme takes off, head across the river for Andy Warhol's "Silver Clouds." The Rosslyn arts center is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but has special extended hours for the free exhibition: 4-11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center: Patrick McDonough's "brightveridiansentinelevents" is an exhibition of clever visual puns and deeper statements about environmentalism. Open Tuesday-Sunday. Free.

Art fair-goers walk down the second floor corridor where art exhibits were displayed in hotel rooms at the (e)merge art fair on September 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C. The inaugural (e)merge art fair features more than seventy-five exhibitors in two platforms on display at the Rubell family's Capitol Skyline Hotel in Southwest, Washington. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post) Art fair-goers walk down the second floor corridor of the (e)merge art fair on September 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

(e)merge: The fair positions 80 local, national and international galleries in the Capital Skyline Hotel's guest rooms, which become temporary galleries -- and the swimming pool and patio area become a stage for performance art. This weekend only. Day passes $15.

FotoBazaar: A giant, unjuried free photo exhibition pops up this for weekend only in NoMa, featuring more than 250 photographers.

RandallScottProjects: See Julia Fullerton-Batten's "Unadorned," which places Rubenesque models in contemporary still-life environments, as a commentary on body acceptance. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday. Free.

Flashpoint: Artist Gregory Thielker documents change along India's ancient Grand Trunk Road in drawings, text and sculpture in "Highway." Open Tuesday through Saturday. Free.

Connersmith: Artists Zoe Charlton and Wilmer Wilson IV explore issues of the body and cultural barriers in “Festoon” and “Faust in the City,” their respective solo shows. Wednesday through Saturday. Free.

 More on the Shutdown:

Smithsonian closed? Here’s what to do instead.
Happy hour specials: Eat and drink for less during a government shutdown
The 'non-essential' government worker's guide to shutdown eats and drinks