Four major Boston art museums announced they would close to the public as concerns over the spread of the coronavirus rapidly builds.
In a joint statement, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Harvard Art Museums have all announced that they will be closing indefinitely.
"The CDC has clearly communicated that one of the most effective measures for controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is social distancing. Based on that recommendation, we feel it our ethical responsibility to put the common good ahead of any one individual or institution," according to a statement signed by heads of the museums.
ICA director Jill Medvedow said, "We have the opportunity, and more importantly responsibility, to proactively put the common good ahead of any one institution, and what we, the ICA , in concert with the other museums in Boston, can do is act on the recommendations of the CDC. And that's what we're doing by closing."
The closures come as the MFA celebrates its 150th anniversary and has planned a year's worth of programs including events and special exhibitions. (In a statement on its website, the museum says their "salaried, hourly, temporary, and union employees will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours" while closed.)
The newly opened MassArt Art Museum had already made the decision to close until March 24.
Other area museums, like MIT's List Visual Arts Center, have suspended public programs but are remaining open to visitors.