Three Berkshire Museums Set to Reopen July 11-12
Three of the largest museums in the Berkshires plan to reopen to visitors over the July 11-12 weekend, following Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement permitting museums and other cultural organizations to resume operations.
The reopening schedule is as follows:
• Mass MoCA will reopen on Saturday, July 11, with operating hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days per week, closed on Tuesdays. The Mass MoCA Store and Lickety Split cafe will be open during museum hours. Museum campus amenities, including a brewery, restaurants, take-out, and shopping are also available. Museum admission tickets are available on sale now. Performance tickets go on sale July 6. Visit the website to purchase tickets.
• Norman Rockwell Museum will reopen on Sunday, July 12, with operating hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days per week, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Museum Store and Runaway Café will be open. Museum admission tickets go on sale July 7 at noon. Visit the website to purchase tickets.
• The Clark Art Institute will reopen its galleries on Sunday, July 12, with operating hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days per week, closed on Mondays. The Clark's grounds have been open throughout the shutdown period and remain open at all times. The Museum Store will be open, but food service is temporarily suspended. Museum admission tickets go on sale July 7. Visit the website to purchase tickets.
In a joint statement, the directors of the three museums — Laurie Norton Moffatt from Norman Rockwell Museum, Olivier Meslay from the Clark Art Institute and Joseph Thompson from Mass MoCA — wrote: "We are delighted to be able to reopen our doors and to welcome back our friends, neighbors, and new visitors. We strongly believe in the restorative power of art and cannot wait to share our galleries and grounds with our guests. We are committed to providing the safest experiences possible and have been working hard to ensure that our visitors will be comfortable in returning under new norms. Our visitors will be our partners in the shared responsibility to follow best practices to protect one another."
Advance ticket reservations will be required at each museum. Admission will be allocated on a timed basis to provide staggered entry, consistent with the state's reduced capacity guidelines.
The Clark's grounds remain open at no charge on a 24-hour basis; the grounds of the Norman Rockwell Museum are available to the public during operating hours, with no charge. Visitors may explore the Mass MoCA campus, including businesses housed within the former factory complex. Check individual websites for further details.
Programming at all three institutions will take new shapes and form, following Massachusetts guidelines. Live performances and events will resume at each venue on a rolling schedule and in new socially distant formats, while virtual programs will continue online to provide other opportunities for deeper engagement. The first live performance at Mass MoCA for the general public is scheduled for July 18. Events at Norman Rockwell Museum and the Clark will be announced at a later date.
Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and recommendations from the Massachusetts Reopening Task Force, the three museums have all adopted the following protocols:
• Visitors must always wear face coverings when indoors and must use face coverings outdoors when unable to maintain at least six feet of social distancing space.
• Social distancing must be practiced in all indoor spaces. Security personnel and/or gallery guides will assist visitors in ensuring safe social distancing practices.
• Signage and/or other directional indicators will be in place to guide visitors through galleries and retail facilities. Visitors should expect new circulation patterns.
• Rigorous cleaning and sanitization practices of all public areas will occur throughout the day.
• Hand sanitizing stations will be provided to assist visitors in maintaining hand hygiene throughout their visit.
Each museum will comply with contact tracing protocols and will collect visitor information for this purpose.
Additional information is featured on each museum’s website regarding health and safety protocols to assist in planning a visit. All reopening dates are subject to change, pending further guidance from state or federal officials.
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield has not announced its reopening plans as of Thursday afternoon. The county's other major museum, the Williams College Museum of Art, will be closed to the public throughout the remainder of 2020. In nearby Bennington, Vt., the Bennington Museum is opening this Friday, July 3.
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