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Museums In Massachusetts Slowly Reopen

After being closed for the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baker Administration has given Massachusetts museums the green light to reopen.
Courtesy MASS MoCA
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After being closed for the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baker Administration has given Massachusetts museums the green light to reopen.

Three major Berkshire County museums say they plan to reopen next weekend after shutting down for nearly four months. 

Phase 3 of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's reopening plan allows for the reopening with new COVID-19 guidelines, such as advance ticket tales. Visitors will show up at a particular time at the Norman Rockwell Museum, The Clark Art Institute and MASS MoCA. 

People are hungry to connect and to connect to art, MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson said. But he doesn't know for sure if they'll come.

"People are still quite cautious," he said.  "That cautiousness could cut against people flocking to museums."

When MASS MoCA opens next weekend, almost 80% of staff will have been rehired, Thompson said. And that's how they'll run the museum — for now.

"Governor Baker was quite clear," Thompson said. "He's laid out guidelines for gathering and performing arts events, which could change — in either direction."

If virus numbers go up, businesses may be told to close again.

For now, museums will have to frequently clean public areas, and they're asking visitors for contact information to allow for contact tracing if necessary.

The Springfield Museums announced it plans to reopen Monday, July 13.

Jill has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing The Connection with Christopher Lydon, Morning Edition, reporting and hosting. In the months leading up to the 2000 presidential primary in New Hampshire, Jill hosted NHPR’s daily talk show The Exchange. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRX's The World.
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