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The National Mall in Washington, D.C., took a step closer to normalcy today. Four Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art reopened to the public. Millions of people visit the free museums in a typical year to see their collections of important objects from American history and culture. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: As soon as free passes to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture were available, Allyson Carpenter was ready.

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Depending on the album, St. Vincent might inhabit a persona. Near-Future cult leader, dominatrix at the mental institution - that's how she's described some of them. On her new album, she's going for a time and place.

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On a grey, drizzly Sunday afternoon, I arrived at an industrial building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I was there for something called a One-to-One Concert, but I genuinely had no idea what to expect – what kind of music I'd hear, or even where I'd hear it. After a temperature check, a masked woman approached me. Her name was Stacy, an usher employed by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the event's presenter.

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Prosecutors in Georgia announced this week that they are seeking the death penalty and hate crime charges for the suspect in the Atlanta-area shootings in March. Six of the eight people killed were women of Asian descent, but proving that these killings constitute a hate crime could be difficult. Thien Ho has seen that challenge firsthand. He's the assistant chief deputy district attorney at the Sacramento County DA's office in California. Welcome.

THIEN HO: Thank you so much for having me on your show.

Overnight, violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel accelerated to the brink of all-out war.

Israel deployed artillery and warplanes to attack the tunnel systems of Hamas. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports at least 126 dead.

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The National Mall in Washington, D.C., took a step closer to normalcy today. Four Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art reopened to the public. Millions of people visit the free museums in a typical year to see their collections of important objects from American history and culture. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: As soon as free passes to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture were available, Allyson Carpenter was ready.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The National Mall in Washington, D.C., took a step closer to normalcy today. Four Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery of Art reopened to the public. Millions of people visit the free museums in a typical year to see their collections of important objects from American history and culture. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: As soon as free passes to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture were available, Allyson Carpenter was ready.

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