Multiple museums in downtown Dallas and the city’s Arts District are set to open in the coming days, nearly five months after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close down.
“This wasn’t a rushed effort for us to reopen. This has been the great exercise in pivoting and then re-pivoting because things were evolving so much,” said K.C. Hurst, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Dallas Museum of Art.
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For the immediate future, the DMA will be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission to the museum is still free, but people who want to go visit the museum must first reserve a ticket on the museum’s website. A total of 200 visitors will be allowed in at any one time, for up to two hours per person.
Hurst stressed that the last several months have provided the DMA with an opportunity to learn, observe best practices from other institutions around the world, and to collaborate with around 60 other cultural organizations and museums in North Texas so they could make this reopening successful and safe.
“We wanted to make sure the people had this place where they can feel restored, inspired, feel a little bit of joy when there’s a pandemic,” Hurst said. “I think that is important for us to really drive home with people who are really looking for these moments to feel restored and be inspired by art that we are finally able to make that happen.”
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will be open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum has requested that people purchase their tickets online prior to arrival, but it will allow walkup ticket purchases so long as it can remain at a maximum of 25% capacity.
“We are a museum that inspires people to be really thoughtful and think about others, so I feel like people coming to our museum will be in that frame of mind anyway,” said Mary Pat Higgins, President at CEO of the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, about her belief that enforcing social distancing and the museum’s mandatory mask policy will not be an issue. “We’re just excited to welcome people, and we feel like it’s very safe for them to be here.”
Higgins noted that her museum could have opened back in May, according to standards set by the Governor’s Task Force. And that a plan was in place with a specific opening date in July.
“We were preparing to open in early July. We actually announced a reopening date, and then the numbers of new cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County started to increase dramatically,” Higgins said. “And we just felt it wasn’t responsible to open during that time.”
“We want to be responsible citizens within our community when we were at the point [of reopening in July] that we were at risk of having a major surge, and many more people being infected,” Higgins said. “It did not feel responsible to open even though we could. But now that the numbers are plateauing, and hopefully even decreasing, it doesn’t feel irresponsible to be opening at this time.”
The Nasher Sculpture Center will open on August 20. The 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and Crow Museum of Asian Art plan to open in September. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science will confirm its opening date soon.