Like almost every other museum around the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City both has and hasn’t had an eventful summer. On the one hand, the coronavirus has necessitated the temporary shutdown of every large-scale building wherein crowds of people usually gather to stare at art. But on the other hand, a global reckoning triggered by the killing of George Floyd has also forced museums to look inward and re-evaluate their institutional failings. On Wednesday, however, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it will reopen its doors on Saturday, August 29, with Members preview days on August 27 and 28.
The museum has taken a number of CDC-sanctioned precautions in order to make its premises safe for all: the number of visitors will be limited to 25 percent of the museum’s maximum capacity, and both visitors and staff must wear masks at all times. But museum hours certainly haven’t been limited much. The Met’s Fifth Avenue building will be open five days a week, from Thursday through Monday, and the beloved Met Cloisters will reopen to the public in September.
“Opening the Met’s doors is an important signal for New York and for all of us,” Max Hollein, the Director of the Met, said in a statement. “We have never been forced to close for longer than three days—much less five months—and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to a wide range of compelling exhibitions and our permanent collection, which spans over 5,000 years of human creativity.”
Three new exhibitions will be on view when the museum reopens, including “Making the Met, 1870–2020,” “The Roof Garden Commission: Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour” and “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.” Nevertheless, the Met’s future as an institution is still very much in flux, and it will continue to be closely watched both by the art world and by its own employees as it once again welcomes visitors into its hallowed halls.