The Delaware Art Museum was pleasantly surprised but not totally prepared when they learned they would be included in Governor Carney’s Phase 1 reopening plan allowing businesses and some arts venues to open June 1.
Because many of their activities — like gallery tours, studio classes, speaker symposiums and concerts on the lawn — take place in groups, the Museum assumed they would not be able to welcome visitors until Phase 2.
But the Museum announced this week that they are ready and excited to welcome visitors starting next month. Members are welcome to visit the Museum starting Wednesday, July 1. And the Museum will open to the general public on July 15th.
The museum is offering free admission during the first two weeks of its public opening, July 15th-July 26th; members are always free.⠀
Spokesperson Cynthia Smith says that like all cultural institutions, the Museum (DAM) needed time to implement a number of safety protocols and work through an entirely new way of guiding people through the facility.
“Opening initially to our members is an enhanced safety precaution, limiting our capacity and, as our members enjoy complimentary admission every day, limiting the need for hand-to-hand transactions,” said Smith.
Staff required time to ready museum under new guidelines
Things will look different when visitors return, beginning with the fact that all tours will be self-guided.
The Museum is working with their designer on creating new signage, and they will also have spacers made so people can socially distance when in line in the gift shop or main desk.
The restaurant will not be opened at the time of reopening. Exhibit information is available on their website.
The Museum plans to launch some limited onsite programming including drive-in films and happy hours.
The DAM will also continue to offer their online art events which Smith says have grown in popularity since the Museum was forced to close in March.
“In the last few months, with the temporary closing of the Museum, the staff provided our audience with a variety of virtual ways for people to connect with art. Weekly art chats, performances, art classes, family activities, an open mic night, and many other art-related events connected our audience to the Museum and its collection,” she said.
Compelling exhibits to return
If you missed Layered Abstraction: Margo Allman and Helen Mason just as it opened in March, that will still be on view when the Museum reopens July 1 and will continue through Jan 17, 2021.
Julio daCunha: Modernizing Myths will also be on view through November 1, 2020.
And in the traveling exhibit area, the DAM plans to reinstall the 2018 commissioned series Black Survival Guide: or How to Live Through a Police Riot by Hank Willis Thomas, which will open July 5 and wrap up September 27, 2020.
These large-scale retrospective screen prints interpret and employ archival documents from the Delaware Historical Society’s photographs of the 1968 National Guard occupation of Wilmington taken by News Journal staff following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Following the 2018 exhibition, the Museum acquired this work from Thomas for the benefit of the communities they serve. “Two years later, we share this poignant work of art as we grapple with the emotional anxiety and the strain of the violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others as a result of systemic racism,” said Smith.
The Museum will hold onsite camps for kids ages 6 – 12 from July 20 through August 21 and a virtual camp for teens ages 13 – 16 the week of July 27 – 31.
The Museum will also offer virtual studio art classes and workshops this summer and hopes to have onsite classes in the fall.
New safety procedures
Following the state’s guidelines for the Art and Culture industry, the Museum will also implement the following safety procedures:
• Guests, volunteers, and staff must wear cloth face coverings
• Maps and brochures will be available electronically
• Cash transactions will be suspended until further notice.
• Plexiglas barriers will be installed at the front desk and in the Museum Store registers
• Guests must practice safe social distancing and maintain a 6 feet radius between families
• Number of guests in galleries may be limited to enable adequate distancing at all times.
• Bags and coat checks will not be permitted
• Café service and use of water fountains/refill stations will be suspended until further notice
• Guests not feeling well or that have come in contact with someone testing positive for Covid-19 in the last 14 days, are asked to stay home