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The Met reopens with new exhibits and smaller crowds

Kai Pilger
Kai Pilger | Wikimedia Commons

Governor Cuomo has given the okay for museums and other cultural institutions to reopen, and these hallmark attractions are ready to welcome back people with socially distanced open arms.

The Met reopened on Aug. 29, joining its fellow museums to start allowing their long-time empty exhibits to allow visitors once again. With this change comes major changes in how museum-goers enjoy art, considering all buildings are limited to only 25% capacity.

The museum took advantage of its reopening by unveiling three new exhibitions that were delayed due to the shutdown. The Making The Met, 1870–2020, a signature exhibition of the institution’s 150th anniversary year will lead visitors on what the museum calls “an immersive, thought-provoking journey” through The Met’s history.

The museum also introduced their latest commissioned work, The Roof Garden Commission: Héctor Zamora, Lattice Detour. The new installation for the Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden overlooks Central Park. The third new installation that will be making its debut is the Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, an exhibition that includes a series of paintings known as “Struggle: From the history of the American People.”

The Studiolo From the Ducal Palace in Gubbio is one of the few parts of the museum that is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic because the room is too small to allow for proper social distancing. The museum also now includes valet parking to accommodate people traveling on bicycles due to hesitation to take mass transit and possibly contract COVID-19.

In the museum’s past history, the cultural institution could have expected more than 5000 visitors per hour on a busy day, however, due to the pandemic, the Met suffered a $150 million loss which caused hundreds of staff cuts. Back in April, a museum spokesperson stated that the layoffs would lead to a 26% reduction in staff.

Students like Jennifer Garay, a communications major at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, have already visited the museum and have made future plans to revisit.

“I’ve gone about four times,” said Garay.

She brought up the precautions that the museum staff have taken to ensure safety, such as staff taking temperatures of incoming museum-goers. “They were all wearing masks,” she added.

The museum is also aligned with social distancing protocols “since there’s a lot of room in the museum, everyone was able to be apart,” said Garay.

Even though the museum has recently reopened, Garay brought up how empty the museum was during her first four visits to the institution.

“Once inside it was all normal, I would say, though it maybe felt emptier than I’ve [ever] seen the museum before,” she said.

“The Met plays a very important role within New York — it’s such a strong signal for getting back to a certain level of normalcy and getting back to life”, the Met’s director Max Hollien said according to The New York Times.

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Jahlil Rush
Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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