Museums in the Twin Cities hope to welcome visitors as early as next weekend.
Gov. Tim Walz’s “Stay Safe Minnesota” order, issued last Friday, allows some businesses to reopen at 50% capacity, while theaters and concert halls can open at 25% capacity. Museums are in a unique position since they usually include large, open spaces that make social distancing easier.
The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis plans to reopen Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 20, then resume its regular Tuesday-Sunday hours July 16, but with timed tickets to limit admission.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is planning a July 16 reopening date. “We are thinking a lot about capacity,” said Eric Bruce, head of visitor experience for the encyclopedic art museum. “Mia is such a large space with a lot of open corridors, so we are just trying to look at those moments where we can help with flow.”
Walker Art Center has not announced a precise date but is planning in mid-July to reopen its galleries, where it can control flow and occupancy.
“We’re looking at a phased reopening,” said executive director Mary Ceruti. The center’s cinema, theater and public events would come later.
The Walker has surveyed visitors, knowing that “just because the governor says that places can open doesn’t mean that people will go.”
It’s studying, too: “What are the real risks? How we do we mitigate them?” Ceruti said. “And then how do we make people feel comfortable about how we’re mitigating them?”
In St. Paul, the Minnesota History Center declined to share reopening plans but hinted that some sites could reopen as early as July, while the Science Museum of Minnesota — home to many interactive exhibitions that require heightened cleaning procedures — is aiming for late summer or early fall.
The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis is working toward a late August or early September reopening. It has considered moving to a reservation system, “as opposed to throwing the doors open,” said president Bruce Karstadt.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum does not yet have an opening date. Spokesperson Courtney Finn said the St. Paul venue will survey members and visitors to find out their willingness to come back and what measures they’d like to see in place: “We’re a little different than other museums in that it’s a very hands-on experience.”
The University of Minnesota’s Weisman Art Museum does not have a firm date yet. The Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul elected to wait until next February, taking its programming into the community and public spaces, including the skyways.