A Handy Guide to All of NYC’s Major Museum Reopenings

Don thy masks and a sense of childlike wonder

September 14, 2020 10:22 am
Guggenheim Museum
If you've missed the Guggenheim, we have good news.
Reno Laithienne/Unsplash

One of the classiest ways to beat the heat of a muggy New York summer is to duck into one of the many museums that dot the city, from fine art institutions to halls of science and innovation. Unfortunately, as we all know, museums have been closed to the public for the past several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the city’s recent move into Phase Four of reopening means that public institutions are beginning to reopen their doors to the public, with some restrictions. Museums, aquariums and similar venues are now allowed to operate at 25-percent occupancy capacity according to Phase Four guidelines, and patrons must be asked to mask up at all times and continue to social distance.

With that being said, we’ve compiled a helpful list of reopening dates at most major New York City institutions below. Also, don’t forget to head over to the museum’s official website to book tickets in advance of your visit.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Olena Shmahalo/Unsplash

Already Reopened

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This scenic garden by Grand Army Plaza is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon surrounded by the nature New Yorkers have recently been deprived of. They’re already reopened as of August 7, with new guidelines that include timed-entry tickets. Visitors are also asked to always keep six feet of distance between themselves and others who are not in their party, and encouraged to limit their stay to three hours.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Those eager to revisit the MoMA should set an alarm and get their fingers ready to click, because the popular modern art museum releases timed entry tickets for the following week on its website every Friday morning at 10 a.m. Art lovers should also consider becoming members instead — you’ll get the museum all to yourself (and other members) on Fridays, and would not need to reserve tickets. Currently on view is Cinematic Illusion, a 360-degree film installation by Japanese artist Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver that was originally exhibited in 1969 at a club in Tokyo called Killer Joe’s.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met just reopened at the end of August, unveiling a new self-loving (met-a?) exhibit that dives into the museum’s 150-year history called Making the Met: 1870-2020. Admire impressive pieces like Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein, along with a detailed record of the museum’s acquisition, restoration and maintenance. Timed tickets are free for members and “pay-what-you-wish” for New York and New Jersey residents. 

Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney means business with their new reopening plan, administering temperature checks to visitors upon arrival and enforcing social distancing by way of museum guards. Currently on view is their Vida Americana exhibit featuring Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, which has been extended through January. The museum is offering a sliding scale for admission pricing in place of its usual $22 fee. 

The American Museum of Natural History
Those pining to see some quality dinosaur bones must reserve a timed-entry slot online, and beware for they are in short supply. The museum will only be open from Wednesday to Sunday, closing at 5:30 p.m. Currently on view is a special exhibit called The Nature of Color, an interactive experience that opened pre-COVID educating visitors on color-related topics such as the science behind camouflage in the animal kingdom and why stop lights have been designed with the colors red, yellow and green.

Located underneath Chelsea Market, Artechouse has just reopened its doors with a new immersive digital exhibition for visitors to experience. Designed by Japanese multimedia artist Shohei Fujimoto, Intangible Forms is a 30-minute “kinetic laser performance” set to the soundscape of Shinto Shrines in the mountains of Japan. Timed entry tickets are available to purchase online and the exhibit is on view until October 4th.

The Met Cloisters
After six long months of closure, the Met Cloisters are finally reopened to the public this weekend, allowing ticket holders to check out their selection of art and architecture from medieval Europe as well as its gardens that overlook the Hudson River. Timed entry tickets are available to book online and are pay-as-you-wish.

The Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum tragically shut its doors the same day it was supposed to unveil its new exhibit, Studio 54: Night Magic, but luckily the party is almost back on. Grab tickets online, which are spaced out in 15-minute increments, or take a chance on one of the limited day-of tickets the museum will provide on-site. 

Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum.
Suicasmo/Creative Commons

Reopening Soon

Reopening Date: September 17
While we all missed the absence of MoMA PS1’s annual summer Warm Up series, their imminent reopening might just make up for it. With your timed entry ticket in hand, check out their new commission by artist Rashid Johnson in the Museum’s outdoor courtyard, as well as the opening of Marking Time, a poignant exhibition on Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration curated by Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood.

New York Botanical Garden (Indoor)
Reopening Date: September 22
While the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx have been open since August, its Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is reopening to members on September 15th and to the general public on the 22nd. The enormous palm dome, which covers an entire acre of land, recently underwent a nearly $18 million dollar restoration that started at the beginning of 2019. Book your ticket online to see different plant species from around the world along with galleries featuring aquatic plants and vines, tropical rain forests, cactus-filled deserts and more.

The Intrepid
The Intrepid.
Joao Carlos Medau/Creative Commons

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Reopening Date: September 25
Those currently wishing they could flee the planet in Elon Musk’s next SpaceX shuttle will find the next best thing at the soon-to-be-reopened Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The vast majority of the 350,000-square-foot space will soon be accessible to the visiting public, including most exhibitions, the entire collection of aircraft on the flight and hangar decks and the Space Shuttle Pavilion, in which you can find the space shuttle Enterprise. You know the drill by now — book your timed ticket online, with the last cut off for entry at 4pm.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Reopening date: October 3
The architectural wonder that is the Guggenheim is finally reopening to the public at the start of October. Timed tickets are necessary to enter, and for every full-priced ticket purchased through December 1st, the museum will give a family pass to an essential worker as part of their new Art for the Front Line initiative.

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