Doors Unlocking: Six Downtown Dallas Museums Announce Plans to Reopen

Six major museums in  downtown Dallas issued a collective announcement Sunday morning: They will begin welcoming back visitors starting this week.

The museums — the Dallas Museum of Art, the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Sixth Floor Museum — worked together to stagger their opening dates over the next several months.

The DMA and the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will open first, on Friday, August 14th.  The Nasher Sculpture Center will follow on August 20th.

Then, it’ll be the Crow Museum of Asian Art’s turn September 18th. The Sixth Floor Museum will also open in mid-September, while the Perot says it’ll announce an opening date later. As a museum with plenty of hands-on, child-friendly exhibits, it’s the one with the most health safety issues to address. In May, the Perot also laid off 168 staff members, the only museum to undergo such a major cutback.

In July, all six art institutions were part of a larger coalition of 51 cultural groups in the Dallas area that developed and signed a set of COVID-safety reopening guidelines. The Dallas Symphony was the first of those groups to announce it will re-start its season under those guidelines beginning Sept. 4th. The museum’s will start re-opening sooner following the same vetted guidelines.

On May 1st, museums were included  in Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order detailing which institutions and businesses could re-open as part of his plan to re-start the Texas economy while the pandemic was ongoing. In Dallas, only the Museum of Biblical Art and the National Center for Jewish Art did so.

DMA Director Agustín Arteaga explained that the six museums took the months since them weighing their options, partly because in March and April, there were nationwide shortages of personal protective equipment like face masks, and the museum directors felt that the supply was best directed toward frontline medical workers.

Three of the museums — the Crow, the Nasher and the Perot — also sustained some damage during street protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in late May. The museums also spent the time tracking how reopenings were handled by other institutions, not just museums but restaurants and shopping centers.

“After five months of being closed,” Arteaga said, “we have learned a lot about COVID and about how to keep people safe.

Fort Worth’s three leading art museums — the Kimbell, the Amon Carter and the Modern Art Museum — also provided nearby case studies, having reopened in early July.

Dallas Holocaust Museum entrance. Photo: Jerome Weeks

The new safety measures being instituted include sanitizing stations at every facility, requiring masks for staff and visitors and closing (or limiting) cafe service.

“A couple of months ago,”Arteaga said, “a lot of things were still up in the air. And we wanted to align ourselves with what the authorities were telling us. And we have learned using a face mask is perhaps the best way to keep a person safe. It’s not until recently that the use of masks has been enforced.”

Arteaga said the DMA, like the other museums, has also reduced its hours of operation and its maximum capacity.

“There’s three times a day that there will be 200 tickets accessible,” he said. “Six hundred a day would be about 25 percent capacity.”

Every museum has set similar restrictions. Visitors will have to book in advance for timed admissions; no cash payments will be accepted in order to make transactions as “touch-free” as possible.

The full release, followed by FQAs from the DMA:

Downtown Dallas Museums Announce Reopening Plans
Six Institutions Will Welcome Back Visitors Starting August 14 & Through September

Dallas, TX—August 9, 2020—Six institutions in the Dallas Arts District and downtown jointly announce today their plans to reopen and welcome visitors again, after being closed since mid-March. The Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will open to the public on August 14; the Nasher Sculpture Center opens on August 20. In the following month, the Crow Museum of Asian Art opens on September 18, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza opens in mid-September (exact date to come), and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will confirm its reopening date soon. The six museums closely collaborated over several months to determine appropriate reopening dates and new measures to ensure the health and safety of their staff and all visitors. Per the Dallas Arts and Culture Reopening Guidelines, which were announced earlier, all staff and visitors are required to wear face masks and each facility has added sanitizing stations, among other safety protocols.

In a group statement, the museums said, “We have all been working together since our closures in March to prepare for the days when we can safely welcome visitors again. The past five months have been times of significant change. As cultural institutions, we each recognize our unique roles as places for visitors to find solace, joy, and connection. We are excited to finally reopen our spaces to the community.”

Dallas Museum of Art: Opening August 14

As of August 14, the DMA will, temporarily, only be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free but tickets to visit must be booked in advance. With over 150,000 square feet of both indoor and outdoor gallery and exhibition space, the DMA will admit up to 200 visitors at a time, and they will have wide-ranging access to the building for two-hour periods. A list of exhibitions on view, now with extended closing dates and including the well-received Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art, can be found at DMA.org/exhibitions. The highly anticipated special exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses, which could not open to the public in March, will require the purchase of an additional ticket. More information about visiting the DMA is available at DMA.org/visit.

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum: Opening August 14 On August 14, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will reopen to the public.

Operating hours will be Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, every Friday members can enjoy Member-Only hours from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is a spacious 55,000-square-foot facility that offers guests plenty of room to interact with our mission—to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference—in a safe way. We offer several outdoor areas, including a Courtyard and Terrace where guests can enjoy fresh air and remove their masks if needed. While the entire museum is open, we are particularly excited to encourage our guests to visit our Pivot to America Wing, which explores the journey for civil rights in America, and our current special exhibition, The Fight for Civil Rights in the South, a moving photographic exhibit that chronicles the African American struggle for civil rights and social equality in the 1960s, including the burning of the Freedom Riders bus and the March from Selma to Montgomery. Learn more about our safety protocols and special Member-Only hours, and reserve tickets now, at DHHRM.org.

Nasher Sculpture Center: Opening August 20

Beginning August 20, the Nasher will be open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. All tickets must be booked in advance. On view in the main galleries, the exhibition Barry X Ball: Remaking Sculpture has been extended until January 3, 2021, and Foundations: Barry X Ball until January 10, 2021. In the Lower Level Gallery, Resist/Release will be on view until January 17, 2021, and Nasher Prize Laureate: Michael Rakowitz until April 18, 2021. The new series Nasher Windows, which features work by North Texas artists, will continue in the entrance vestibule of the museum until early September. For more information and to book tickets, please visit here.

Crow Museum of Asian Art: Opening September 18

The Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas will open to the public beginning September 18. Operating hours will be Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free, and the museum will operate at a 25% occupancy. On view will be the special exhibition Beili Liu: One and Another and two exhibitions from the permanent collection, The Art of Lacquer and Immortal Landscapes: Jade from the Collection. For more information, visit crowmuseum.org.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza: Opening mid-September

The Sixth Floor Museum will open in mid-September, operating five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance via the museum website at jfk.org. To accommodate social distancing guidelines, capacity will be limited to 25 guests per entry time. Admission includes access to Art Reframes History, a special installation of works of art from the museum’s collections that explores the variety of ways artists interpret history. Ranging from Andy Warhol to local artists and musicians, the creative voices in this exhibition span time and geography but all share a common point of inspiration: the life and legacy of President Kennedy. Additional information about planning a visit to The Sixth Floor Museum is available at jfk.org/visit.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science: Upcoming

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is looking forward to reopening and will announce its plans at a later date. For updates, go to perotmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Dallas Museum of Art Reopening FAQs

General

What safety and sanitation measures will you have in place for visitors?

To ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, the DMA has implemented a range of new or increased health and sanitation guidelines and protocols, including:

• A thorough cleaning and sanitization of all public spaces, particularly high-touch areas (e.g. bathrooms, elevators, door handles, railings), will be performed multiple times per day.
• In accordance with Dallas County regulations, all visitors and employees will be required to wear face masks while visiting the Museum. The DMA will provide face masks to visitors without one. Refusal to wear a face mask will result in denial of entry to the Museum.
• Visitor entry to the Museum will be limited to the North entrance to control traffic flow. Visitors may depart the Museum from any of the building entries.
• To help limit crowds and enforce social distancing guidelines, visitors will be required to reserve timed General Admission tickets online prior to arrival.
• Guests not from the same household should remain at least 6 feet from other guests at all times.
• Walk up ticket requests may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.
• Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the Museum, including at the entrance where guests will be required to sanitize their hands upon entry to the Museum.
• Plexi-glass barriers will be installed at Guest Services desks.
• When inside the Museum, the use of stairs will be recommended where feasible.
• Elevators will have limited capacity based on square footage. Riders must maintain social distance.
• Limited seating will be available inside the galleries and will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
• The DMA will require cashless transactions. Contactless payment for all transactions will be implemented.

How can I know it will be safe to visit?

The health and safety of our staff, visitors, and community is the DMA’s first priority. We have been working to develop new procedures and protocols that will allow us to reopen our doors while adhering to all applicable state, federal, and industry requirements and guidelines. With these measures in place, our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming experience for all who wish to return to the Museum. Of course, visiting any public space is a personal decision that must be made with an individual’s own health and comfort level in mind, but we look forward to welcoming visitors back inside our galleries as soon as they feel ready to do so.

Why are you requiring that visitors wear masks?

In accordance with CDC recommendations and Dallas County regulations, we are requiring all Museum staff and visitors to wear masks or face coverings while inside the Museum. If you do not have a mask or face covering, the Museum will provide you with one upon arrival. This is one of many measures we are implementing to protect the health and safety of our staff and patrons, and we ask for your
cooperation. Visitors who refuse to wear a mask will be denied entry into the Museum. In addition, we encourage everyone to continue washing their hands and use sanitizer where soap and water are not available, and to maintain appropriate social distance from other patrons and staff while in the Museum. We also ask staff and visitors to remain at home if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Will you be providing hand sanitizing stations? How many/where?

Yes, hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the Museum. Visitors will be requested to use hand sanitizer upon entry to the Museum and before and after touching frequently touched surfaces (e.g. elevators, door handles, railings).

How frequently are you cleaning the museum? What about high trafficked spaces? What about elevators/door handles?

A thorough cleaning and sanitization of all public and back-of-house spaces will be performed daily. Restrooms will be cleaned three times a day and high touch areas (e.g., elevators, door handles, railings) will be cleaned four times per hour.

Will Museum hours differ?

Yes. The DMA will be operating with reduced hours initially to accommodate necessary sanitation protocols. The Museum will be open to the public Friday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm and will be closed Monday through Thursday. Members will be given priority access for ticketing. Special first responders and at-risk hours will be announced shortly.

What exhibitions will be on view?

The following exhibitions will be on view when the Museum re-opens:
Sandra Cinto: Landscape of a Lifetime
Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade
Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art
For a Dreamer of Houses (Requires a separate, timed ticket for entry, available for purchase after securing a complimentary ticket for General Admission)
My|gration

How will the exhibition schedule change?

The dates have been extended for all exhibitions that will be on view when we re-open. The fall exhibition Cubism in Color: The Still Lifes of Juan Gris has been postponed. Rethinking the Myth of the American West has been cancelled.

Will all the collection galleries be open?

The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on the concourse and all the collection galleries on Levels 2, 3, and 4 will be open with the exception of Level 3 of the Reves Collection and the adjacent Decorative Arts and Design area. The Conservation Gallery will remain closed.

Specific Policies

Do you have contactless payment?

Yes. No cash transactions will be accepted.

Are you enforcing that visitors wear masks?

In accordance with CDC recommendations and Dallas County regulations, we are requiring all Museum staff and visitors to wear masks or face coverings while visiting the Museum. We ask for your cooperation so we can help ensure the health and safety of everyone that enters our building. If you do not have your own mask or face covering, we are happy to provide one for you. Visitors who refuse to wear a mask will be denied entry to the Museum.

How will you enforce social distancing in the galleries and interior spaces?

The Museum has instituted a number of protocols to ensure visitors and staff can follow social distancing guidelines, including timed ticketing, capping the number of visitors on-site at any one time and within each gallery space, and installing signage and visual reminders throughout the Museum. We strongly encourage all visitors to abide by the CDC recommendations and Dallas County regulations for the safety and well-being of all.

How will timed ticketing work?

While General Admission to the DMA will remain free, to maintain a maximum capacity of 25% and facilitate social distancing, a timed General Admission ticket must be obtained online in advance of your visit. Initially, there will be three 2-hour time slots for visiting the museum. Once you have secured your General Admission ticket, you will have the opportunity to add a matching timed ticket to the special exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses at an additional cost. At the end of each respective time slot, all Guests will be escorted out of the building in advance of the next group.

How often will timed General Admission and special exhibition tickets be released?

• Timed General Admission tickets and special exhibition tickets will be released on the third Monday of every month for the upcoming month.
• Please reserve yours in advance, online.
• A very limited number of tickets are available onsite on a first-come, first-served basis.
• Tickets may be presented in printed form or on a mobile device.
Other institutions are not operating their shops currently, why are you?
The number of people, inclusive of staff, allowed in the gift shop at one time will be limited to 6 and there will be hand sanitizing stations available. Contactless payment will be required.

Other institutions are not operating their food service currently, why are you?

The Museum cafes are not resuming normal operations. They are limiting services to prepared to-go orders only, and on-site dining will not be available.

What is your policy if a visitor or staff member notifies you of being exposed to COVID-19 and/or testing positive for COVID-19 during a period when they were present at the Museum?

We will follow CDC, State of Texas DHHS, and Dallas County DHHS guidance and protocols. We will cooperate with federal, state, and local authorities to assist with contact tracing. Staff are required to stay home and notify their direct supervisor and Human Resources if they have been exposed to, exhibited symptoms of, or tested positive for COVID-19. In the event that the employee was at the Museum, we will notify any employees with whom they may have been in contact. We will also notify any visitors, to the extent the Museum will be able to determine which visitors likely interacted with an exposed or infected employee.

Will coat and bag check still be offered?

No, not currently. Backpacks, briefcases, luggage, and other oversized items are prohibited in the building.

Programming

Why are you not offering Late Nights, Second Thursdays, or any other public programs and events?

We are not currently offering any public programs or events. We look forward to phasing these programs back in as social distancing guidelines ease. In the meantime, we invite you to explore our online offerings, which include virtual activities, conversations with artists and curators, and more. To access these, visit virtual.dma.org, sign up for the e-newsletter Museum Mondays, and connect with the DMA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Why are you not offering tours of the museum? How can I learn more about the works on view during my visit?

To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we are currently not offering tours. We will begin to re-implement them as gathering and social distancing guidelines ease. We invite you to explore our digital resources at virtual.dma.org, including virtual tours, behind-the-scenes videos, the Uncrated blog, online access to the complete collection, and additional resources for more context on the art on view.

Is the Center for Creative Connections open? What activities are available for my children?

The Center for Creative Connections gallery is open, and it is where you can visit the My | gratins exhibition. However, due to their tactile nature, activities and interactives will be unavailable until further notice. While we work on devising safe, accessible ways for our younger visitors to get hands-on at C3, we will continue to provide art-making activities through our #DMAatHome online offerings, which you can access by visiting virtual.dma.org, signing up for the e-newsletter Museum Mondays, and connecting with the DMA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Got a tip? Email Miguel Perez at mperez@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @quillindie.

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