Museums, still in limbo, plan reopenings

Indoor cultural activities were excluded from Phase 4 of reopening in NYC

New York /
Aug.August 11, 2020 10:00 AM
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History have set reopening dates for this month or next (Getty)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History have set reopening dates for this month or next (Getty)

New York City’s museums have been in limbo since the state excluded indoor cultural activities from Phase 4 of reopening. But several have gone ahead and set tentative reopening dates already.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the New-York Historical Society, Poster House and the Museum of Jewish Heritage are all aiming to open their doors to visitors this month or next, pending state approval, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Obviously, it’s a very fluid situation,” Museum of Jewish Heritage president and CEO Jack Kliger told the Journal, adding that museums were better-positioned for reopening than restaurants. “People can walk through a museum with a mask on. I don’t think they can eat with a mask on.”

Meanwhile, as of Monday state officials had not yet set a date for museums to reopen. “We will continue to track the data and the science, and will make a decision on reopening cultural institutions in New York City when health experts determine it is safe to do so,” a spokesperson said.

The coronavirus lockdown has put museums under financial stress, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently laying off 353 employees as it faces a projected $150 million shortfall.

After reopening, museum officials say they will take various precautions to ensure the safety of their visitors, including limiting capacity and reducing hours to provide time for deep cleaning.

“Being open isn’t the whole answer,” said Laura Lott, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. Some museums in other parts of the U.S. have had to reclose after reopening, and attendance has remained weak due to virus concerns. [WSJ] — Kevin Sun


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