After closing its doors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Walters Art Museum will reopen Sept. 16 at 25 percent capacity and with other COVID-19 protocol in place.
“We are excited to invite people back into the museum and to once again share the art of this incredible collection with our community,” Julia Marciari-Alexander, the Walters’ director, said in a statement. “The Walters is guided by the belief that art and history play vital roles in shaping people’s lives and connecting us with each other.”
The past six months have been far from artless with the Walters’ online collection allowing people to “visit” the museum virtually, but Marciari-Alexander said staff are still excited to welcome visitors back to the building.
“Although we’ve been able to shift much of our onsite programming to the digital realm and will continue to offer these resources online for free, we are eager to reopen our physical doors and welcome visitors back,” Marciari-Alexander said.
In preparation for the reopening, the museum has been working with city and state agencies, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to implement new guidelines and restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Under the first phase of the museum’s reopening, the building will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum has suspended all in-person programming, tours and events, which will resume during a later reopening phase.
Visitors are not required to secure tickets in advance. Admission to the Walters is free.
Some parts of the museum will remain closed under this first phase, including the Hackerman House at 1 West Mount Vernon Place, the Palazzo building, the Museum Store and Cafe, the Family Art Center and the auditorium.
Staff, volunteers and visitors older than 2 years old will be required to wear masks or face coverings in the museum. The museum will provide complimentary masks to people who need one.
Staff will clean the museum multiple times per day with a focus on high-touch areas such as restrooms, elevators, handrails and door handles.
There will be touchless hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, as well as signs with messages about health measures, foot traffic flow, capacity limitations in certain areas, and directions.
The museum has removed some seating and touchable interactive surfaces, and has temporarily closed its locker rooms. Visitors should leave umbrellas and bags larger than 11 by 15 inches at home.
The museum will closely monitor capacity to ensure physical distancing throughout the building, especially in smaller areas such as elevators and restrooms. The museum will also further limit the capacity of certain spaces and will ask groups larger than nine people to divide into smaller groups.
“Museum staff has worked diligently to meet the challenges of this pandemic, and we are confident that these changes and practices will keep our staff and visitors safe,” Marciari-Alexander said. “We will always aim to provide the best possible Walters experience, even during challenging times.”
The Baltimore Museum of Art will also be reopening on Sept. 16 with similar restrictions, including a 25 capacity limit, mask requirement and other guidelines.
For more information about the museum’s guidelines, visit thewalters.org.