Written By: Eleanor Pratt
Since March 2020, the majority of us have been stuck inside with little to do. As we enter September, however, more and more attractions are opening up to the public in both Southern Maryland and in Washington D.C.. While many museums and galleries are still closed to the general public due to COVID-19, there are some that have been allowed to open their doors again with new guidelines in place.
The Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is open to the public, although new rules have been introduced to keep everyone safe and healthy. The Garden asks guests who feel sick to stay home. Guests with compromised immune systems are advised to seriously reconsider visiting, as some areas of the garden and galleries are impossible to disinfect and could pose a health risk. The sculpture garden and trails are open to the public, as well as the Murray Arts Building, although masks are required inside. The Garden’s current exhibit is “She: An Expression of Womanhood,” which focuses on the theme of women in art. Due to the COVID crisis, the Garden is following a “pay what you can” practice and simply suggests that guests donate a five dollar donation per person if possible.
The Calvert Marine Museum has also resumed its normal hours of operation from 10:00am to 5:00 p.m. daily. However, guests need to select a two-hour time window before visiting to reduce crowd sizes. Between each two-hour session, employees will sanitize all of the indoor and outdoor spaces to make sure everyone stays safe. When visiting the museum, guests can learn more about the history of Solomon’s island, visit the otter exhibit, and see the new exhibit “Waterside Music Series: The Sounds of Solomon’s,” which will be opening to the public soon.
As of Aug. 31, 2020, Washington D.C. is in Phase Two of recovery. Museums, galleries, and even the National Zoo are slowly being allowed to begin opening, however, there will most likely be a capacity for fifty people in exhibit spaces and rules about face masks and social distancing will be in effect.
In a more recent development, The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum are all planning on opening Friday Sept.18 with free, timed-entry passes required for each guest. The Renwick Gallery is also opening on Sept.18, but it does not require timed-entry passes at this time.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts has also opened its doors and, like many other museums, has asked interested visitors to reserve tickets in advance because the museum is practicing timed admission. Current exhibits include a collection of more than 5,000 works of women-made art from the sixteenth century to today and “Return to Nature,” which show-cases the different approaches women photographers take to photographing nature.
The National Gallery of Art has opened its West Building and Ground Floor galleries from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The Gallery does require guests to secure a pass in advance, but admission is always free. The Gallery is currently featuring exhibits on open-air painting in Europe until Nov. 29, 2020 and on Degas at the Opera until Oct. 12, 2020.
For those looking for some American history, George Washington’s home of Mount Vernon is now open again. Visitors can take a journey through our first president’s home and learn about how life was lived during the late 18th century. Non-members should buy tickets online for guaranteed entry because capacity is limited, and everyone is required to wear face coverings.
As time goes on, more museums and attractions will open to the public, however, when absolutely everything will be open again is anyone’s guess. These museums and galleries that are beginning to open up can give us hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we may be able to return to some kind of normalcy soon.