After months, tourists and local art enthusiasts can step inside The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic. “I have been yearning for art again. It is a part of my life; it is so rejuvenating that I wanted to be the first as soon as it was available,” said one visitor waiting outside, as reported by NY1.
“The museum, as well as the art, felt muted. It felt it had no one to speak to. That is what is happening right now, and people have been longing for it,” said Max Hollein, Director of the museum.
The largest art museum in the United States received over six million visitors in 2019; however, to safeguard guests’ wellbeing and stop spreading the deadly virus, the Met will follow new protocols, including a significant reduction of the number of people allowed in its galleries.
Until further notice, the museum will operate at a 25% capacity, which is 14,000 people a day, including staffers. Volunteers won’t greet guests, and the information desk will be unoccupied. Among other safety measures, all visitors will need to comply with temperature checks at the door and wear a mask at all times. Ticket holders won’t be able to wander around for hours inside The Metropolitan Museum of Art and must stick to the timeframe in their reservation.
Group tours are not permitted, and each installation will have fewer benches to follow the social distancing measures imposed by the CDC and New York State. “I am glad they are doing it safely. I am glad they are taking reservations, and I am glad to be back to doing something I enjoy,” said another visitor.
To live the Met experience and easily explore the building, guests should bring their maps. Visitors can print out the PDF version available on the museum’s website. To save the planet and keep it digital, ticket holders can also use the many QR codes around the halls and galleries.
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The Met is now reopen—and we can't wait to see you! While the Museum is the same place you know and love, you'll notice a few changes to ensure the health and safety of all visitors. Here's what to expect when you return to The Met. Welcome back—we're ready when you are. → Visit the link in bio for our full list of guidelines and to book your timed-entry ticket.
Besides the codes, attendees will be asked to “keep to the right” through signs. “The stay to the right philosophy is consistent throughout the galleries,” Quincy Houghton, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and co-chair of the reopening task force, said to Gothamist. “So there will be signs reminding you to do that. We have them on stanchions instead of on the wall because they sort of command themselves as being different. They’re three-dimensional. And also, even more importantly, we have the ability to move them — because this is going to be a learning process. We think it’s a good plan, but it will continue to need to be refined.”
“It’s a wonderful time to be here,” Houghton said. “You can get a sense of how it’s a work in progress.”
The Deputy Director also revealed to the publication that this is a team effort. Although guards will always stay alert, so everyone complies with the safety measures, visitors should always keep in mind that we are going through a pandemic. “I think we feel like that is an overall institutional responsibility,” she said. “So the guards will absolutely play a big part in that, and visitor experience will play a big role. And also, I think we feel like it’s a collective responsibility. So for all of us who are here, just walking through the galleries, we’re responsible. But there will be gentle reminders and lots of messaging before the visit, and I think people will start to recognize these new ways of experiencing this place.”