By David High
“After being closed to the public for the past 6 ½ months, I’m most looking forward to seeing people in our galleries again,” said Graham Boettcher, Birmingham Art Museum director. “Our visitors are the lifeblood of the institution and art only comes to life when there’s someone there to look at it.”
Boettcher said the months-long close came after rapid growth of COVID-19 cases in the Jefferson County area in early March. Despite the physical closing, patrons were still able to attend the museum virtually. #BMAfromHome was introduced so art lovers could still enjoy the museum safely with live videos, digital exhibitions, art activities and games.
“Guest can expect a safe environment amid COVID-19.” Boettcher said. The museum staff created a COVID-19 task force before the museum closed and they have been planning for a safe reopening on Tuesday. “The task force has been meeting consistently since then to review, discuss and implement safety protocol and best practices.” Boettcher said.
- Attendance limited to 50% of the museum’s overall capacity
- Masks required for all staff and visitors over the age of 2
- Deep cleaning of museum facilities take place daily
- Closing of touch interactives within the museum
- Physical distancing aided by overseers in high-traffic areas
- Hands-free hand sanitizer stations available throughout the building.
Amid the changes, art lovers are excited about the reopening and plan to attend the museum after it opens. Rising artist and student at the University of Montevallo, Ariel Rivers, said she believes the museum is a great venue for upcoming artists.
“I think the museum inspires upcoming artists because it gives them a foundation to work and explore their talents in ways they couldn’t without looking at the history of what an art museum has,” Rivers said.
COVID-19 has caused many entertainment outlets to close and many of the citizens have been looking for safe outlets for the family. Cate Boehm, the communications director for the museum, said the staff is excited to resume operations and serve the community.