July 6, 2020 —The Worcester Art Museum, which has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 13, 2020, announced today that it will reopen to the public in early October 2020. This decision, made in consultation with the Museum's Board of Trustees, allows time to make facility improvements prior to reopening and plan the robust exhibitions that will open in the fall.
“Delaying our reopening until the fall is the most prudent course for the Worcester Art Museum,” said Matthias Waschek, the Museum's Jean and Myles McDonough Director. “It gives us an opportunity to address some internal facility needs and prepare for fall exhibitions and programs.”
The October reopening date coincides with the opening of two important exhibitions organized by WAM and which had been scheduled to run this spring: The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design (October 3) and Kimono Couture: The Beauty of Chiso (November 7). The fall reopening date will allow time to make improvements to gallery and public spaces, as well as continue construction of the new Lancaster entrance stairs—begun in November 2019 and paused in March at the start of the COVID-19 shutdown—without interfering with the visitor experience.
When the Museum reopens, it will look for guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and follow health and safety guidelines mandated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Museum is developing reopening protocols for the safety of visitors and staff, including enhanced and increased cleaning schedules, hand sanitizing stations throughout the building, and required masks and social distancing.
The Museum also announced that it is adjusting its programming schedule for the fall, based on survey data. It has transitioned its popular studio art classes to online instruction for the summer and fall. In addition, Museum staff is working to convert regularly scheduled fall public programming—such as Master Series Art Talks and the Community Day—to virtual experiences. Links to WAM's digital programs, such as virtual tours, art activities for children, and artists talks, can be found here.