Life will slowly start to get back to normal this weekend. On the list of places reopening are museums, and the New Orleans museum of Art lost a lot of revenue after major events had to cancel and the building had to shut down.
Now new restrictions present a new challenge. Although for right now NOMA sits empty, but behind the scenes they are working hard to bring culture into people’s homes. They’ve made virtual tours that are updated for people.
They have not forgotten about the people that don’t have internet.
“We’re creating kits, learning kits, materials that families can pick up. Then we can mail. It’s really been an opportunity for us to acknowledge what we called the digital divide in New Orleans. Figure out other ways to engage our families,” says Susan Taylor, the executive director of the art museum.
The city starts to plan opening up in phases Saturday. This now creates a challenge to keep people safe.
“We have to ensure the safety of our guests, and they need to ensure the safety of our other guests,” says Taylor.
New rules include operating at 25% capacity, putting markings on the ground to keep people from crossing one another, limiting people on elevators, and enlarging or removing labels from works so people don’t gather.
The most painful for the staff is to remove pieces of art so there is more room to be socially distant.
“It’s hard. Because we have incredible works in the galleries. Beautiful collections. It’s hard,” says Taylor.
For a museum of this size that relies heavily on fundraising events and admissions, that are all canceled, NOMA is ready to start welcoming people back in.
“We are a museum for the people of New Orleans. And that is our primary focus. And it’s our major initiative. And we want to be accessible to everyone. We want everyone to experience the museum,” says Taylor.
The museum’s first exhibit is expected to be this fall. The theme is hope and optimism, and they are excited to see what pieces are created during this pandemic.