“SHAN Wallace: The Avenue,” a new five-part mural by the Baltimore-based artist. It covers a construction fence on the west side of the BMA.
“SHAN Wallace: The Avenue,” a new five-part mural by the Baltimore-based artist. It covers a construction fence on the west side of the BMA.

The Baltimore Museum of Art, closed since November 25 due to COVID-19 restrictions, is taking baby steps toward reopening by offering visits by appointment starting next month.

The museum announced today that groups of up to eight people will be allowed to reserve time to see a limited selection of exhibitions and galleries from February 6 to March 7.

Each group will have 90 minutes to see two exhibits that opened in the fall of 2020 and are scheduled to close in March. They are: “A Perfect Power: Motherhood and African Art,” closing March 7, and “Stripes and Stars: Reclaiming Lakota Independence,” closing March 28.

Beginning Sunday, February 17, visitors can also see “Stephanie Syjuco: Vanishing Point (Overlay),” a three-part installation presented in the front of the building, the upper East Lobby, and the European Art galleries rotunda (the future John Waters Rotunda).

Otherwise, officials say, the museum remains closed to the public to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and reopening plans beyond March 7 have not been firmed up.

Anne Brown, senior director of communications, said the museum is opening sections of the building in this limited way to give people a chance to see already-installed exhibitions that can’t be extended because loaned items must be returned by a certain date, the artwork is light-sensitive, and other reasons.

She said museum directors will be monitoring how this arrangement works and are aiming to have information about a more complete reopening before March 7.

“The intent was to find a really safe way for both visitors and staff to see these exhibits that have to close in March,” she said.

Small group reservations can be made online for BMA members beginning Monday, February 1, and for the general public beginning Wednesday, February 3, at artbma.org.

The galleries will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and appointment times are 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. Brown said reservations are required, and groups will not be combined. For example, she said, if only one person reserves a time slot, the museum will not schedule another group for that time slot.

Outside the building at 10 Art Museum Drive, no reservation is needed to see the BMA’s Sculpture Gardens, which will remain open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to dusk, as long as weather conditions permit.

Visitors can also see SHAN Wallace: The Avenue, a new five-part mural by the Baltimore-based artist that is covering a construction fence on the west side of the building.

The BMA is one of two large museums in Baltimore that are reopening this winter after being closed since November. The Walters Art Museum will also re-open later this season, the exact date has not been announced.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.