Tags for: Thoughts on Reopening the Museum #WelcomeBackCMA
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Thoughts on Reopening the Museum #WelcomeBackCMA

July 2, 2020
A figure wearing a blue mask looks at Andy Warhol's Marilyn x 100.

A visitor explores the CMA’s galleries, reopened after months of being closed to meet public health guidelines.

After being closed for more than three months beginning March 14 to meet COVID-19 public health guidelines, the Cleveland Museum of Art reopened June 30, 2020. The museum is limiting daily visitation initially, and on the first day of a new era, 500 people from across the Cleveland area came to enjoy a safe and inspiring public space.

They reserved free, timed tickets and arrived in a colorful variety of masks so that they could be among the first visitors to see collection favorites, 20 works from the recent Keithley collection gift now on display, and the completely reimagined British galleries. Also, all special exhibitions that were on view when the CMA locked its doors reopened with extended end dates, to ensure additional time for people to see these once-in-a-lifetime installations.

What follows is a photo essay and some observations chronicling a historic day for the CMA.

All images courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Shortly before opening the doors, the media line up outside the building to interview the CMA’s director and capture images of the reopening.
William Griswold, director, welcomes the first visitors back to the museum.

William M. Griswold, director of the CMA

“I am beyond thrilled to be able to welcome our community back to the Cleveland Museum of Art,” said William M. Griswold, director of the CMA. “Our staff have been fastidious in planning, and we feel confident we will provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for all on-site visitors.

It’s 10:00 a.m.! The doors open and visitors are welcomed back into the CMA. After a quick, no-contact temperature scan, with face masks on, visitors show their free tickets and enter the building.

Brian Cook, visitor

“It felt very safe today. It was very easy to maintain the social distance, and it felt very comfortable.”

Open for business! The first visitors enter the Ames Family Atrium and head off to their favorite galleries.

Clare Cook, visitor

“It was great to connect with people again. We saw some people from our church and had a great conversation!”

Valerie Young, visitor services associate (left), is glad to be working among first-day visitors (right and above).

Valerie Young, visitor services associate

“My anticipation was that I would be full of anxiety, but I am happy to report that people have been very patient, and the technology was on our side. People have been very, very nice. They are really happy to be back in the museum. I think I needed it just as much as they did. It’s been very good for my well-being to be back and engaged. It’s been reaffirming, to see that life does go on and that many people have been anticipating the reopening.”

Dwayne Kirkland, gallery guard, posing with the painting Gouise by Joan Mitchell, gets ready to welcome visitors.

Dwayne Kirkland, gallery guard

“It’s nice to be back. And they are doing a great job informing people up front; that makes our job in the galleries easier. I like being with the Keithley piece [Gouise, by Joan Mitchell] that they hung next to the Jackson Pollock [Number 5, 1950]. It’s perfect to put it there, in that part of the gallery. It really spruces it up. Adding all of the Keithley pieces makes it more lively in here. They’ve done a really good job putting them in with the other parts of the collection.”

New masterpieces from the Keithley Gift, the redesigned British galleries, and many special exhibitions are on view now.
While visitors are enjoying strolling through the galleries, the CMA staff works hard to maintain enhanced cleaning standards.

The CMA is officially open again, and we can’t wait to see you! Reserve your free entry tickets and check out our complete FAQ at cma.org/visitplan, or call the ticket center at 216–421–7350.


If you want to learn more about some of the special exhibitions on view, read the blogs below:

Who Makes the Photograph — The Photographer or the Camera?

Gold Needles: Korean Embroidery Arts from the Women’s Inner Quarters and Beyond

The Women of Tiffany Studios: Clara Wolcott Driscoll Made Visible

In a New Light: Exploring the Design of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Stained Glass Lamps