Miami museums plot strategy to again admit visitors
The wait might be over real soon for artists and the Miami art community as museums start to plan out strategies and present new art exhibits with welcome back celebratory events.
Art and science museums have used the shutdown wisely to reinvent ways to attract visitors back, get them excited for what’s to come and at the same time, make sure everyone is kept safe
As one of the first museums in Miami-Dade preparing to open its doors to the public, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, is set to open June 15 with limited attendance and required advance timed ticketing and reservations, with social distancing regulations in place across the campus and increased frequency of sanitization and disinfection.
“We installed two new National Geographic poster exhibitions and a new Frost Planetarium show later in the summer, which we modified to be a little less touching, but still have a great experience,” said Frank Steslow, Frost Science president and CEO. “The new exhibit installation with the University of Miami called ‘Power of Science’ is our new permanent exhibition, which will open in July in the museum’s Ocean Gallery.”
Visitors will be welcomed with non-contact temperature screenings from a distance with thermal imaging cameras, he said. “I’m confident we can provide an environment that is safe. We took a deliberate approach on our decision to open. Visitors are going to be surprised when they do come in.”
The in-person summer camp is already running through Aug.14 for children 4 to 11. The program is operating with limited sizes of eight per classroom, Mr. Steslow said.
By the end of June, HistoryMiami Museum has plans to partially open with its south building, according to Jorge Zamanillo, HistoryMiami executive director.
The first two weeks will be free for the community to see how visitors respond, he said. “We are excited to reopen soon a space for everyone to return and see culture and our exhibitions.”
A new exhibit, “Embracing the Lens: The BlackFlorida Project,” featuring the photography of Johanne Rahaman and curated by Dr. Jeffreen M. Hayes, will be on display.
“This is really a new normal for all the community and us. It’s not as easy, because some of our exhibits are interactive and involve touching, but we are working on the north building with permanent exhibits, which will definitely be modified without affecting the concept,” Mr. Zamanillo said.
The Pérez Art Museum will have a “Sculpture Garden” outdoor exhibition and a new collection called “Allied with Power: African and African Diaspora Art” from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, which is “phenomenal and incredibly timely,” said Franklin Sirmans, the museum’s director.
With plans to reopen Sept. 1, Mr. Sirmans said the museum is thinking of having a celebratory event honoring first responders as the outdoors become the new indoors with more programming outside and much more amplified events from the past, like “Local Views at PAMM.”
Not certain exactly when its doors will open, The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami is using the shutdown time wisely by inaugurating an outdoor art and activity MOCA plaza.
“Once we open, we are going to set our exhibition layout in a way where visitors can move through the space complying with social distancing. We are looking to put wall labels and going digitally where visitors can look up information of art exhibits through their smart phone or tablet, giving them other options to learn about the exhibits and continue the traffic flow throughout the museum, but still engaging in a meaningful way,” said Chana Budgazad Sheldon, MOCA’s executive director.
MOCA is constantly evaluating and adjusting carefully and thoughtfully in every aspect for staff and visitors, she said.
“Most museums are aiming and wanting to open for September, but there’s no way to confirm if it’s possible at this time,” Ms. Sheldon said.