Dallas museums have tried their hardest to keep us entertained (and, above all, cultured) while we ride out the pandemic at home. For months, most major local institutions have adjusted their content to offer virtual tours and other online programming, so we can only blame ourselves for spending most of the shutdown watching crap TV.
Museums are, after all, best experienced in person, as we make an entire event out of our cultural expeditions into spaces designed for optimal tranquility — and take photos for social media to show our friends just how highbrow we are.
Interrupting 2020's regular programming of endless shit is one bit of good news: Three downtown Dallas institutions announced their upcoming reopenings, all happening within the same week.
The Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will open to the public Aug. 14, followed by the opening of the Nasher Sculpture Center Aug. 20.
The Crow Museum of Asian Art will reopen Sept. 18, while the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza announced it will reopen in mid-September (though they've yet to confirm a date).
Museums have always had guidelines — and there’s always a grumpy-but-lovable guard nearby to remind us not to get too close to art — but the pandemic rules are more specific. Cultural institutions had to comply with government-mandated guidelines before reopening.
COVID-19 cases continue to plague Dallas residents. A report on Sunday brought the county's total to 54,674 cases of the coronavirus and 755 confirmed deaths. That’s roughly one in 48 people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in Dallas County.
We hate to depress you with these hard facts, but let them be an unforgettable reminder of why it’s vital to adhere to the rules of pandemic etiquette.
Here’s what you can expect:
You won't get in without a face mask, so save your freedom rant for Costco
Visitors will be required to wear face masks. The DMA will provide masks to guests who don’t have one. The Holocaust Museum will have three “Mask-Free Zones,” outdoor areas for visitors who need to take a breather. But you will not, if you're over the age of 2, be allowed in without one. (And if you're over the age of 2, you should know why by now.)
All three opening museums will reinforce a rule that visitors maintain 6 feet of distance among guests from different households. Visitors at the DMA and Nasher will have timed tickets, while the Holocaust museum is limiting visitors to 25% of its maximum occupancy. All tickets must be purchased in advance.
At the Nasher, “Contactless entry includes plexi-shields at admission desks, ticket/phone scanners, and new entrance and exit pathways,” says the museum’s website. The DMA and the Holocaust museum will also require cashless transactions.
To control traffic, visitors to the DMA should enter through the museum’s north entrance, but exit points have remained unchanged.
All museums are required to provide hand sanitizers with stations visible throughout the buildings, and have increased cleaning, particularly in high-traffic areas.
The Holocaust museum will offer a members/senior citizens-only (ages 55 and older) a special visiting hour every Friday from 9 to 10 a.m.
The Holocaust museum’s hours are now 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Check each museum’s hours before heading out.
Staff are required to check their temperatures upon arriving to work and to wear face masks.
Sketchbooks and pencils are allowed in the galleries at the DMA, but no other art supplies.
"Sports equipment, including soccer balls, footballs, and Frisbees, are not permitted on Eagle Family Plaza or in the Museum's outdoor gallery spaces," says the DMA's website. "The use of bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades is prohibited except on perimeter sidewalks."
Pets on a leash are allowed on Ross Avenue Plaza and Eagle Family Plaza, though you, of course, have to clean up after your pet (and yourself).
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You also can't smoke or vape anywhere near the museums, including the entrances and garages.
Don’t touch the art
You should never do this anyway, but it’s especially important at this time that you keep your 1-in-48 chances of COVID hands to yourself.