New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art Will Reopen in Late AugustJune 25, 2020 | In the Press
After more than five months of closure, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen its doors on August 29.
The world famous museum was forced to cease operations on March 13, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, as cases in New York decline and the city enters Phase 2 of reopening, the museum is preparing to allow visitors back into its hallowed halls.
If New York's reopening process goes as planned, museums will be allowed to open on July 20, as part of Phase 4. The Met, however, will take an extra month in order to allow staff members to return to work and structure the museum to accommodate new guidelines.
“The safety of our staff and visitors remains our greatest concern,” said museum president Daniel H. Weiss in a statement.
As far as exhibitions go, the museum will reopen with "Making The Met, 1870-2020," a collection celebrating its 150th anniversary, along with "Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle," a show focused on the modernist artist's lesser-known paintings.
The Met's reopening comes during a time of financial struggle for many arts organizations across the country. The New York juggernaut was not exempt, laying off more than 80 staffers in April. Even before the pandemic, the museum struggled with budgetary concerns, leading them to close the Met Breuer museum for good in July.
The Met Breuer, which is the museum's Madison Avenue space for modern art, will be taken over by the Frick Collection. The Met has leased the iconic Brutalist building from the Whitney since the modern art museum's move to the Meatpacking District. Halfway through their eight year lease, The Met will now sublet the space to the Frick as the collection's Upper East Side home undergoes a renovation and expansion.
The Breuer's most recent exhibition, a Gerhard Richter survey, was meant to be a grand finale for the location. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced the Breuer to close permanently just nine days after the exhibition opened.
Further uptown, the Met Cloisters, which specializes in European medieval works and architecture, is expected to reopen shortly after the main museum, though a date has yet to be announced.
Across New York City, other museums have been more hesitant to announce plans for reopening. Three other major Manhattan arts institutions—the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)—have not made any statements regarding reopening dates.
It should be noted that changes will be in place whenever the time comes. In May, MoMA director Glenn Lowry estimated the museum would welcome visitors sometime between July and September and will enforce social distancing practices. These new measures could include timed-ticket entry for 1,000 guests at a time, removal of wall labels to quell close gathering, and spacial rearrangement.
Other cultural spaces are being forced to get creative with their reopening strategies. Namely, the New York Historical Society is planning a free, outdoor exhibition about the current moment. Set to open August 14, "Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine" will act as a precursor to NYHS's official opening on September 11.